A Believing, Practicing Mormon’s Perspective and Why I Have Signed


By Tony Peterson

Over the past few weeks, Tony and I have been discussing the petition to Protect The Children.  Recently he posted this essay.

Ever since Mitt Romney ran for President, it seems that there has been a much brighter spotlight on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (or the Mormon Church). Some of the news has been very good (Mormon relief efforts in areas stricken by natural disasters), and some of the news has been very bad, “Rob Porter”. My purpose in writing this essay is to show that you can be a believing, active, leader sustaining member of the church, and still be supportive of the petition and cause put together by Sam Young, called “Protect LDS Children.”

This petition has many aspects that align well with my beliefs, and there are a few places that they don’t align. Yet, I have come to the conclusion that signing it is the right thing for me to do, and I would encourage my practicing LDS friends to do the same. This petition and cause seeks to fundamentally change the way that ecclesiastical leaders perform interviews on Mormon Children and Adolescents. It does so in the name of protecting the children.

First off, I would like to say, I support, sustain, love, and appreciate every leader I have in the church. This goes from the quorum presidencies, all the way up to the first presidency. I believe that for the most part, God has selected absolutely amazing people, who are willing to put in the equivalent of a second full time job in order to serve those under their watch. I believe that a majority of leaders in the church are wonderful, worthy, men, who are doing their best to serve God, and agree that if anyone were to hurt a child, it would be better for them, had a millstone been hung by their neck and they had been drowned in the depths of the sea.

Additionally, I believe that there has only been one perfect being on earth, and that would be Jesus Christ. This means that everyone, from the lowliest person, to the prophets of god, have all been given flaws and faults that can be used to take away from the message they are sharing with the world. While many in the church will profess that they don’t believe their leaders must be infallible, they are also not willing to deal with the consequences of what that means.

Personal Revelation is a key component to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is evident from many sources such as Nephi in the Book of Mormon. He was directly commanded by God to kill Laban, and steal his property, with the saying “It’s better that one man should perish, than that an entire nation would suffer in unbelief.” Nephi was given a prompting by the spirit to do something that was directly contradictory to the teachings of the church, yet it was necessary for him to fulfill his personal path as directed by the Holy Ghost. At the time, the commandments of the church were not changed to remove killing and stealing from the list of commandments, rather Nephi was commended for following his personal revelation.

We also have a history of bottom up revelation. The most glaring example would be the Word of Wisdom, which was famously proposed to Joseph by Emma, after she grew tired of cleaning up the mess from spitting tobacco in the rooms where the leaders of the church would meet. Emma was an amazing woman, but she was not the prophet called of god. Yet one of the most defining teachings of our religion started as an idea presented by someone who did not have the authority, to those who did have the authority.

Last, and certainly not least, I believe that the church absolutely needs policy changes like this in order to navigate the rough waters ahead of them. I have heard numerous stories of heartbreak from both leaders, and those whom they interview. Children and young people, traumatized by the experience of being alone in a room with a middle-aged man, being asked very intimate questions. That can be scary, overwhelming, and harmful. Additionally, I have met leaders who have had their entire lives ruined by accusations that later proved to be false. They spent their life’s savings, and countless amounts of personal emotional capital in resolving the issue.

The church has a big target on its back now that people perceive a weakness to exist in this area. A very influential ex-Mormon has offered to pay children (and adults) if they were to record their interviews with their bishops and send them to him. He will then comb the submissions finding the worst and most shocking recordings possible, and publicly release and promote them with the intent to harm the church. He has done this in other areas, and has every intention of expanding into areas such as this. These policy changes would significantly reduce the danger from such recordings.

The Boy Scouts of America have set an example that would be very easy to follow. They regularly put all leaders through a training session that teaches that if a youth or any youth are in the room or on an activity, there must be 2 deep leadership at all times. This policy benefits the children, the leaders, and the Boy Scouts of America. Most LDS men are familiar with the program, so instituting it would not be difficult.
Our Bishops act as Judges in Israel. I believe they are blessed with discernment that helps them do the best they can. However, this is not a perfect process.

If I were to write the petition myself to change the policy, it would be rather simple. I would ask for the following points:

  • All interviews between a priesthood leader and any child or youth under the age of 18 must include an adult (usually, but not always a parent) who has been selected by the youth/child to act as their advocate before the bishop. This would ensure that in every circumstance, a second adult would be present. This would protect the church and the leaders from false accusations. It would also make most of the heartbreaking stories listed on protectldschildren.org impossible, due to the presence of another adult. All sides are protected.
  • Bishops should continue to ask basic questions about whether the law of chastity is being followed. If the child does not know what that means, they should be referred to the parents or guardians, who would have access to a pamphlet that very clearly defines the church definition of chastity. Any line of questioning that goes into any moderately to extremely graphic detail would be strictly prohibited.

While Sam’s petition has a few things more than this, and some things that I don’t completely agree with, I believe that his petition is one of the best efforts I have seen to try to change something in the church that truly has potential to benefit all parties involved.

The world needs people who disagree in some fundamental ways to find places where their interests overlap, and where true collaboration can result in a system that benefits all involved.

My first Mission President once taught a Zone Conference on how to differentiate between Gospel Principles, Church Practices, and Personal Preferences. We learned that focusing on Gospel Principles would bring people closer to Christ than would be achieved by focusing on Church Practices or personal preferences. The requests in this petition and call to action reflect well the gospel principles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and simply ask that some of the current practices or preferences be changed, without affecting doctrine.

For these reasons, I have signed the Petition to Protect LDS Children,  including my unhidden information.

I may not agree with all of it, but that’s OK. There are many times I don’t agree with my wife, yet we find ways to work together for the betterment of the family. I would like to thank my new friend Sam Young for helping me see ways that we can make the church a safer place to worship for the members and leaders who worship there.

And…I would like to thank my new friend, Tony Peterson, for his loving patience with me.  It enabled us to converse without fear and long enough to climb the hill of common ground.

Join the March for The Children

Help Tony & I assure that the children of the future don’t repeat the dreadful experiences of the children in our past.

Make plans for this historic event.  On March 30, 2018 we will gather at the Salt Lake City/County Building.  Then march 5 blocks to the LDS Church Office Building.  Upon arrival, we will present 2 items to church officials:

  • The signatories on the Petition to Protect The Children–Stop Sexually Explicit Interviews of Mormon Youth
  • Sacred Stories of Sacred Children.  A record of childhoods destroyed behind closed doors.

Register here so we can get an accurate count ahead of time.  Our goal is 1,000 marchers.   It’s going to be big.

How can you help make this all happen:

  • Share the march info everywhere.
  • Bring your friends & family.
  • Encourage friends & family in Utah and surrounding states to join in

We are making Mormon history.  Come make it with us.  It’s a once in a lifetime event.

***Please Share the March-For-The-Children FAR and WIDE***

The Historic March for the Children

Lion Protecting CubsToday, we officially announce our March for the Children.

This event will be historic in the annals of Mormon history.  These are our kids.  We have an obligation to protect all children in our society.  And PROTECT…THEM…WE…WILL!!!

Date:  March 30, 2018 (Good Friday)

Time:  12:00pm – 3:00pm

Place: Salt Lake City and County Building, 451 State Street, Salt Lake City 84101

We will gather at the park adjacent to the Salt Lake City/County Building.  A five block march will ensue to the LDS Church Office Building.  There, we will deliver the signatures that have been recorded on the Protect-The-Children Petition.  We will also present the book of Sacred Stories of Sacred Children, accounts of lives damaged from inappropriate childhood interviews.

In our petition to Protect the Children—

We call on the LDS Church to immediately cease the practice of subjecting children to questions about masturbation, orgasm, ejaculation, sexual positions or anything else of a sexual nature. This applies to all children up to and including age 17. There should be no one-on-one interviews with children. A parent or another adult of the child’s choosing is to be present.

We call on the LDS Church to publicly disavow this practice.

We call on the LDS Church to ensure that all congregational leaders, as well the general membership, are informed that this practice is prohibited.

Attendance Goal

We are shooting for 1,000.

At this moment, there are 14,659 signatures on the petition.  Close to 7,000 are from Utah.  There are people who plan to fly and drive in from all over the country.

Our petition goal was 10,000 names.  At the outset, it seemed impossible.  Nope.  It was totally possible.

Having 100 survivors come forward with stories seemed unlikely.  Over 2,000 survivors have now shared their stories.  330 have put them out in the open for the world to see exactly what we are doing to our kids.

1,000 marchers?  Is that even possible?  When I gave this estimate to the city permit department, they were pretty skeptical.  LET’S MAKE IT HAPPEN.  Not for numbers sake.  For our children’s sake.  The bigger the numbers, the more likely will be the outcome we are looking for.

And exactly what are we looking for:

  • Protecting of our children by eliminating one-on-one interviews where sexual questions are posed.
  • Facilitating the healing of those children who have been harmed.
  • Protecting our bishops from risksing their reputations.
  • Protecting the good name of the Church.  The world recognizes the danger we are putting our children in.  It harms our reputation when we harm our children.


Please register for the event on Facebook or Eventbrite or both.  At the moment, 32 have signed up.   Only 968 to go!  We are almost there.

BTW, you don’t need to sign-up.  You don’t need tickets.  The sign-ups will help us and the city make the appropriate preparations.

I’m anxious to meet you as we converge on the common cause for our children.

***Please Share the sign-up page far and wide***



Sign the Petition

Share Your Story

See the Stories

Read the Stories


President–Join me at the News Conference

Lion Protecting CubsDear President________,

A sitting Bishop and his 2 counselors have just signed the petition!!!

That makes 3 active bishops who have signed.

In mid-January, a ward right here in Houston made the petition changes.  The bishop happens to be a very close relative to one of the apostles.

And…there is one entire stake that has made major changes to protect their children.  I sent you all the details a couple of weeks ago.

Changes are coming, my friend.  I invite you again to take the lead.  Let’s be proactive and make the changes.  There are many members in our stake who have signed the petition.  They and everyone else would be completely supportive of you!!

All my best wishes,


P.S. Before I could send this, I received word of another sitting bishop who wants the petition to succeed.




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.

10,000 Gifts for Our Children

Christmas Gifts

Christmas Eve, 2017….a milestone for our children was attained.  10,000 signatures on the Petition:  Protect The Children–Stop Sexually Explicit Interview of Mormon Youth

This is the first major step in our march to stop behind-closed-door interviews where our children are probed about sexual matters.

I want to thank everyone who has taken a stand with your signature.  Thank you for sharing, discussing and speaking up.  I know many of you took a lot flack from friends and family.  Let me assure you that your reputation is not at risk.  We are on the right side of history.

BTW, I have often seen the petition referred to as “Sam Young’s” petition.  Once upon a time, that description was fitting.  No longer.  It’s “OUR” petition.  It now belongs to 10,000 protectors of children.

Very Important Next Step

The petition has already accomplished a lot of good.  However, much work still remains to induce the church to make the drastic changes that we want.  Several initiatives will be rolled out over the coming 3 months.  Please stay the course.  If our 10,000 dissipates, the task will be that much harder.

Over the next 2 weeks, our goal is to record 1,000 stories of youth interviews and their consequences.  We have already reached 4% of the target.  This step is critical in promoting our cause to the media.  It will be media attention that will ultimately catalyze change at church headquarters.

Take the next 10 minutes and do the following:

  1. Go to the new site protectldschildren.org
  2. Click on SHARE YOUR STORY
  3. Record your story.  It can be as long or short as you choose.

Thanks in advance for your help.


You may be interested as to where the Protect-The-Children people are located.

I’ve broken it down by State and then by Country.  All U.S. states are represented along with 54 countries around the world.

By State

State Count %
UT    4,517 47.40%
CA      761 7.99%
AZ      538 5.65%
TX      509 5.34%
ID      461 4.84%
WA      421 4.42%
OR      253 2.66%
CO      238 2.50%
NV      176 1.85%
VA      113 1.19%
NC      100 1.05%
NY        96 1.01%
FL        94 0.99%
OH        81 0.85%
MO        78 0.82%
IL        74 0.78%
GA        66 0.69%
PA        65 0.68%
IN        60 0.63%
MI        57 0.60%
NM        54 0.57%
WY        49 0.51%
MN        47 0.49%
MA        44 0.46%
TN        44 0.46%
MD        43 0.45%
MT        41 0.43%
IA        38 0.40%
WI        37 0.39%
HI        35 0.37%
OK        35 0.37%
AR        30 0.31%
KS        29 0.30%
NJ        29 0.30%
KY        28 0.29%
SC        28 0.29%
AL        26 0.27%
AK        22 0.23%
CT        21 0.22%
LA        17 0.18%
NE        16 0.17%
SD          9 0.09%
WV          9 0.09%
ME          6 0.06%
ND          6 0.06%
NH          6 0.06%
DC          5 0.05%
MS          5 0.05%
VT          5 0.05%
RI          4 0.04%
DE          3 0.03%
TOT   9,529

By Country

Country Count %
USA     9,531 92.79%
Canada       232 2.26%
UK       137 1.33%
Australia         90 0.88%
Sweden         39 0.38%
Brazil         25 0.24%
Germany         24 0.23%
Norway         19 0.18%
Finland         18 0.18%
New Zealand         16 0.16%
France         10 0.10%
Netherlands         10 0.10%
Spain         10 0.10%
South Africa           9 0.09%
Ireland           8 0.08%
Japan           7 0.07%
Philippines           7 0.07%
Switzerland           7 0.07%
Denmark           6 0.06%
India           6 0.06%
Mexico           6 0.06%
Austria           4 0.04%
Greece           4 0.04%
Italy           4 0.04%
Singapore           3 0.03%
Belgium           2 0.02%
Chile           2 0.02%
China           2 0.02%
Colombia           2 0.02%
Dominican Republic           2 0.02%
Hungary           2 0.02%
Malaysia           2 0.02%
Peru           2 0.02%
Russia           2 0.02%
South Korea           2 0.02%
Thailand           2 0.02%
UAE           2 0.02%
Antigua and Barbuda           1 0.01%
Argentina           1 0.01%
Bulgaria           1 0.01%
Costa Rica           1 0.01%
Czech Republic           1 0.01%
Ecuador           1 0.01%
Estonia           1 0.01%
Hong Kong           1 0.01%
Iceland           1 0.01%
Jamaica           1 0.01%
Kuwait           1 0.01%
Luxembourg           1 0.01%
Panama           1 0.01%
Puerto Rico           1 0.01%
Uganda           1 0.01%
Zimbabwe           1 0.01%
TOT    10,272

Additional Resources

Petition Already Protecting Children

Lion Protecting CubsToday, this message showed up in my inbox:

Hi Sam – I wanted to reach out personally and thank you for what you’re doing.  My wife has struggled with my evolution of beliefs over the past year.  So, I’ve been reluctant to bring up church stuff with her.  Yesterday, out of the blue, she said to me, “Have you heard about that petition?” 

That kick-started a conversation during which she openly and passionately agreed with your message and proclaimed how she won’t allow our daughters to be questioned alone with a Bishop and not at all on worthiness and sexuality. 

My oldest daughter is a few months away from youth interviews and I had been worried about how to handle the desire to protect my children, while also not harming the very fragile relationship I have with my wife in relation to the church.  It couldn’t have gone better. 

She’s considering sharing the petition on her facebook timeline.  Her mama bear has come out.

Thank you.  Sincerely.


The petition is now at 6,010 signatures.

However…..this is NOT the most important statistic.  The real significance is what’s happening in homes and families.  Several members have now resolved to protect their children from being taken behind closed doors, all alone, with an untrained older man.  And then probed about masturbation and other sexually oriented matters.

Stand Up to Protect Our Vulnerable Children

Help me and 6,000 other thundering voices to eradicate this dangerous and damaging practice.

Sign the Petition.  Share the Petition.

Additional Resources

Pedophiles in Priesthood Power–Amy’s Story

TearsWhat you are about to read…I consider a sacred story.  This woman is a cherished friend.

As I poured over her story, I was fascinated.  Then I cried.  Then anger.  Finally, gratitude that my friend is coming to terms with a horrid violation at the hands of her childhood bishop.  Her healing is now to the point that she can openly share her story.  Which is, in-and-of-itself, part of the healing process.

Thank you Amy…I love you.

Sexual abuse by a pedophile with priesthood power is a real risk in the current state of LDS youth interviews.  This year alone, there have been 3 high profile court cases of bishops being prosecuted.  Two in the U.S. and one in the U.K.

Amy Hall’s Story–In Her Own Unedited Words

Trigger Warning * Sexual assault involving a bishop*

**If you are a survivor of molest, be very cautious about being triggered with reading my story!!!**

* Sam Young, THANK YOU for Holding THIS TORCH. I cannot begin to tell you how much your work in shedding light on these interviews means to me!!!

This post contains the reality of the sexual molestation I endured as young Mormon girl behind closed doors in my bishop’s office. I can’t even stand to capitalize the word “bishop” and even sitting at the keyboard typing this, it takes a tremendous amount of effort not to dissociate and revert to the trembling little girl I was when my innocence was stolen from me.

There are days and even weeks at a time that I feel like a molest victim. The feeling of being a “victim” floods in when I am consciously remembering the moment by moment details that robbed me of my innocence and ability to develop with a “normal” sense of the sexuality we should all be entitled to.

As a survivor of molest, I became extremely adept at compartmentalizing my feelings, emotions, and even my memories.  Compartmentalizing all of these things enabled me to “Look Like” a mature adult woman “on the outside”.

I learned to “pretend” that I wasn’t a victim. I even taught myself to “pretend” I wasn’t even a “survivor”.  Much of my adult life, I literally “pretended” that I had NEVER been sexually molested by my bishop.  More about how that came about later.

My parents were both converts before I was born and married in the Los Angeles temple in 1957. I was born the 2nd of 3 children in 1961. By the time I was 3 years old, my father was in the bishopric as the second counselor. There was never a time during my childhood and even into my early 20s that my father was not in the bishopric as either the first or second counselor. Our ward was split and my Father went from being the second counselor in the old ward to the first counselor in the new ward. The bishop that called him to be his first counselor would be the bishop that molested me.

The bishop was THE jolliest, kindest, lovable man you can possibly imagine.  Everyone “loved” him.  And he made me feel very special.  He ALWAYS had a pocket full of candies. There was always a big glass bowl of candies on his desk. He would greet everyone with the warmest of hellos.  And I loved crossing paths with him in the foyer or the cultural hall BECAUSE as he approached, you could see his hand dip into his suit coat pocket.  This meant he was going to give you a piece of candy.  But I was very special to him and he made me feel like I was more special than other children because when he took candy out of his pocket for me, his hand would be wrapped around the candy tightly and there were always two candies for me.

He would wrap his arm lovingly around me and take my little hand into his big warm hand and secretly press two candies into my hand, wrap my fingers around the candies and hold it an extra-long time and bend down and whisper in my ear that I was so sweet and so pretty that I got two candies when everyone else only gets one candy. I would seek him out because a big hug always meant I would get two candies secretly, warmly, and lovingly pressed into my hand. “Now, don’t tell anyone that you got two candies because you are so sweet.  Everyone else only gets one!”  Plus I was special because my dad was his first counselor.

His office door was often open.  If I peeped my head in the door, he would wave me in and say sweet little admiring things to me about how special and pretty I was and give me some candy.  He was known for these special candies.  He had a whole story about them.  He called them “Quilting Pills”… Now-a-days, you can buy them in rolls called “Mentos”… but back then, they were individually wrapped in white, blue and silver paper and came from the bulk candy bins at Hickory Farms.

As an adult, I know that he was “grooming” me… grooming me to feel a little more special than my peers… and also grooming me to keep secrets.

I don’t have a memory of being molested before the molest that played out in his office behind closed doors.  But I do remember masturbating when I was pretty young.  I have since asked a number of my close female friends (over the years) if they remember masturbating as a child… mind you, these were women AFTER I left the church.  I left the church in my early 20s.  And it was a lot easier to talk about things like this with never-mormons.

My mother had a small book in our bookshelf that had black and white pictures of child birthing.  I remember being sexually excited by looking at the pictures in that book. Looking at the pictures in that book used to make my vagina tingly and warm.  I would take the book, look at the pictures for a bit and then rub the book between my legs until I had orgasms.  I had no clue about what “masturbation” was… But somehow, I had discovered these very exciting sensations.  I was around five years old when my Mother “caught” me doing this. She shamed me for it and told me to STOP DOING THAT!… Her tone of voice made me feel very shameful.  But it felt so good that I just learned to do this ONLY when NO one could catch me doing so.  It was a very regular thing.

After reading Max D. Crapo’s article: “Mormonism: Extending Power Through Sexual Control”, I have come to understand, like Max, my mother also unwittingly began grooming me for sexual control by Mormon leadership… Specifically my bishop and later on a stake president. (Note… after the abuse I suffered at from these men, I find myself unable to capitalize those titles.!)

I do not know exactly the age I was when I first had “THE INTERVIEW” in the bishop’s office. But I had been well groomed to love and trust him –both from the primary lessons on how our bishop loved us like our Heavenly Father… and from how sweet and loving he had been to me while grooming me to keep secrets.

I had been in his office MANY times… my dad was always staying late for his first counselor bishopric duties… and I felt super comfortable in that office.  And EVERYTIME I went into his office, I could count on walking out of there with a handful of “Quilting Pills”… Mentos… The bishop told this story about how the sisters used to always have a big bowl of these mints when they sat around quilting together.

The Interview. My turn to get to go into his office with the door shut. So trusting… so feeling loved and cared about by him… one of his favorite children… and I was his first counselor’s daughter.  That made me even more special. I think about all of this now and my heart beat races, my hands get cold and clammy and I feel sick and shaky.

I sat in the big wooden armed chair with soft padding.  He pulled his chair up so close to mine and sat knee to knee to me.  He reached out and could touch my little bony knees with his warm hands.  At first the caress of his warm hands on my knees did not feel creepy, strange, or weird.  He was like a loving grandfather to me.  I revered him like my Heavenly Father.

I vividly remember the card he had with “the questions” on it… it was yellow card stock. Funny how some things get stamped into your memory.  I have since looked up the questions on line… Did I have faith in and a testimony of God the Eternal Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost?… Did I pay my tithing on my allowance… did I keep the word of wisdom… AND then the questions about touching myself.  I didn’t know this was coming. I just wasn’t prepared for him to ask about this. I had already been shamed about it by my mother… so, I just touched myself when no one could catch me… BUT this was like sitting in front of MY Heavenly Father… and I needed to be true and honest with Him…

I loved the church.  I loved the Gospel… I had been programmed to Love everything about the church… So, answering truthfully no matter how hard my heart was pounding was what I did.  Yes, I have touched myself between my legs.  My vision got foggy.  My heart was pounding. The walls felt like they were closing in on me… even typing this right now, my body starts to tremble with this feeling of dread and fear and I start to dissociate.

He was sitting knee to knee.  His chair so close.  He reached out and touched my knees.  It felt like he was trying to comfort me and put me at ease.  He spoke in a hypnotic tone… calming… and he went into a whole thing about my Heavenly Father and our Savior… and about how loving and understanding they are about this sin that I was committing… He told me that He and my Heavenly Father understood that I would not be able to master this sin right away… They understood that this could take a very, very long time to learn how to stop doing this.  He told me that this was okay because our Heavenly Father was the kind of loving father that understands and will forgive me if I can’t stop this right away.  I understand now that he was programming me to continue this loop of self-pleasure and masturbation intermingled with intense guilt but like a loop that I just couldn’t stop.  I understand now that this man was a sick and twisted pedophile… that he groomed me to feel so special and loved by him… and then he molested me… but he twisted that into the sickest form of mental abuse as well as the physical molest.

The physical molest came in the form of a priesthood blessing.  But first he asked me to show him how I touched myself.  Did I touch myself between my legs with my panties on from the outside of my panties or did I touch myself underneath my panties?  He needed to know so he could understand in order for himself and my Heavenly Father to help me to be able to stop this over time.  He emphasized a number of times how difficult this would be and how they understood this. They…. He and my Heavenly Father… Over and over… how difficult this would be stop… how understanding they would be over the time it would take for me to gain mastery over this… on and on…

Out came the priesthood blessing oil.  To this day, the smell of rancid olive oil makes me sick to my stomach… and I can get triggered from seeing one of those small aluminum vials of that vile oil!!!

If I could just stand up and slip my panties off then he could give me a blessing with the priesthood oil since I touched myself under my panties sometimes.  I had seen these priesthood oil blessings many times before.  I was deep under his control.  I was compliant and submissive to his voice and commands.  My head felt foggy.  My heart was pounding in my chest. It was as if my Heavenly Father was right there with him and they needed to rub the oil between my legs while he prayed so that the blessing could go right to the spot where it could be more helpful as a blessing.  During the blessing and while he rubbed the oil around and around, he continued the whole speak about “them” being so understanding about how long it would take me to overcome this sin because they understood that it can feel good.

The thing that I have come to understand as an adult is that a pedophile does not always “hurt” the child while touching them.  When I separate from the traumatized little girl part of me, I know that what he did with this touch felt sexually pleasurable… and he used this to further draw me in.

Next came a horrible heaping of mental and emotional torture and abuse.

I don’t know if you can fathom (if you have not been sexually molested) HOW UTTERLY difficult this is to disclose… but I am determined to speak out… to be brave enough to tell these details so that others can also understand how this messes with your head… how the guilt and shame comes flooding in because this kind of abuse was done to me and it literally felt sexually pleasurable… I now understand how this messes with your head to create a loop of guilt that loops over and over of blaming yourself.  He was blaming me for the fact that I felt pleasure… and yet he was using this whole sick and twisted stuff all wrapped up in the years and years I had been brainwashed in Primary and Sunday School about my Loving Heavenly Father being so loving and understanding to manifest my silence hoping I would NEVER speak out and tell anyone that he had sexually assaulted me. And as an innocent child, I had ABSOLUTELY no understanding that I was being sexually molested.

I have come to understand that victims of pedophilia do not speak out because they are made to think it is their doing… and that they are horrible for causing this to happen.  I can now see how this man used the sensations of pleasure that my child body was experiencing to shut me up… to make it my fault… to heap guilt on me for this yet crave the pleasure of it.

These “interviews” occurred more than once.  For years, I did not talk about this because I went back to him for more of these blessing… because the sexual sensations felt good. There was this sick loop of the pleasure being more of a secondary gain than the guilt.  Until I understood how messed up this really is, I was utterly embarrassed… and I blamed myself.  It took going to a psychologist and having weekly counseling sessions for over a year ALMOST every week to separate out the guilt ridden little girl and the adult woman that I am …AND begin to integrate these PARTS of me into a whole person so that I can share this with you now. Those of you who saw me first post about some of this over a year ago will remember how awkward and angry I was trying to share my story in hopes of healing.. and also just lashing out in rage … in hopes of getting the church to stop these interviews… to just vent… and try to process all of this.

I think this is an important piece to understanding how a pedophile works on an innocent child.  He showered me with loving attention.  He made me feel special.  And he also pleasured me.  I now can explain this… say it… type it –The mature adult in me WHO HAS HAD to go back and work with this wounded guilt ridden little girl and help her understand that she did the best she could.  THAT SHE WAS a VICTIM of this sick perverted pedophile!!!!  And that it was not and is NOT her fault….

The Mental and emotional torture and abuse:

You know the teaching in Mormonism about the “Sins of the fathers coming down on the heads of the children…”???  The bishop twisted this around and caused me to understand that the sins of the children can come down on the head of the father.  He twisted this all around caused the little girl in me to worry that if I told anyone about this horrific sin that was akin to murder, that my father’s life could come to an end… hence it was extremely important that this sin that I was struggling with so horrifically be between me and my Heavenly Father only… and of course the bishop –who was intervening with me for the forgiveness that our Savior would grant once I could stop this.

The sins of the sons and the daughters will come down on the heads of the fathers… This is so sick and twisted… and he manipulated all of this to the point that I started having a reoccurring nightmare that my father’s head was chopped off with a big sword by a missionary in a white shirt and name tag…

The dream was vivid.  The missionary had a huge sword… like the one from the Book of Mormon… my dad was made to kneel execution style on the floor of my bedroom and the missionary raised the sword and chopped of his head.  I remember the first time I had the nightmare. I was away from home at camp… I woke up screaming in the middle of the night.  It wasn’t a church camp.  I woke up screaming in the middle of the night and my camp counselor let me call my dad at work the next day to just hear his voice.

I was so fearful that I would cause this to happen to my dad because I enjoyed this self-pleasure sin… that I did not tell anyone about this dream when I was a child… or teenager –except the bishop.  After I started having the dream, I could not sleep in my own bedroom and made excuses to my parents as to why I started sleeping on the couch in the living room…. Telling them that for some UNKNOWN reason, I had nightmare in my bedroom.  I couldn’t even dress in my bedroom for several years.

And this is how twisted the little girl in me had become and how enmeshed I had become with this sick pedophile bishop: I went to him and told the bishop about the reoccurring dream and he gave me a blessing… this time on the top of my head with that horrid rancid priesthood blessing oil.  By then, I was about 14 years old.  The priesthood oil blessing stopped around the time I started my periods… AND I HAD NO IDEA THAT I HAD BEEN BEING MOLESTED … it was just all so twisted… Being raised in this guilt for sexuality culture… CULT… I just thought this was all my fault… and that the bishop was helping me.

There is an educated, intelligent adult part of me that I have been able to develop… I was able to do so by PRETENDING throughout most of my adult life that I was not a victim OR survivor of childhood molest by a sick pedophile… I even went to a group therapy sponsored by a government county agency that was called AMAC… Adults Molested as Children… WHERE I identified as someone who MIGHT have been molested as a child… but couldn’t remember… I identified in the group telling the therapist and the group members that I “felt” like I “Might” have been molested…. And that is how I survived through my early adult years.

The women in the AMAC group were a MESS… and I went to the group.. I listened… I talked about my sexual stuff… how I thought the molest I might not fully remember might be affecting me because I felt like I belonged in the group….

BUT, I would not talk about it in detail… and I compartmentalized it all… telling myself that if I got the help I could get from the group without becoming a total mess –like I was observing the women in the group to be, THEN I could function as an adult… and I did … for MANY years… until I was finally in a safe relationship… after two failed marriages… and after being a single mom for another 10 years… appearing very put together… identifying as a high functioning adult… a dentist’s wife… an elementary school teacher… a good mother who has armed her daughter with the ability to not be molested… ALL THE while KEEPING MY DEEP DARK SECRET … THE DARK SECRET THAT THE LITTLE WOUNDED GIRL HID FROM THE PEOPLE AND THE WORK AROUND ME…. UNTIL I was finally in a safe and loving relationship… and after getting HORRIFICALY TRIGGERED AFTER going to see the Book of Mormon Broadway play close to 2 years ago.

Between leaving the church in my 20s and up until I was in my mid 50s, I had absolutely no association with anyone LDS except my parent and a few LDS friends. But No one harassed me about leaving the church.

I am grateful now that I got triggered from going to see the play…… because I am no longer hiding this DEEP DARK SECRET… the sweet and innocent little girl part of me is now being integrated and loved… and held with understanding and hope…

People, we NEED to stop LDS inc from doing these interviews…. My story is not the norm… However, I know that even if children are not horrifically molested as I was, the interview is ABSOLUTELY ABUSIVE AND EMOTIONALLY HARMFUL… and the fact that a certain percentage of the population are pedophiles is reason enough to NEVER let a Mormon bishop sequester a child into a bishops office and ask them anything sexual WHATSOEVER!!! PERIOD!!!

I also had sex in my late teens and I was made to go before a “court of love” … where I was asked specific details about my sexual experiences.  The stake president that sent me to the “court of love” would not even let me finish telling him about the bishop that had molested me.  I was just 19 at the time and I was still brainwashed into the whole Mormon mess…now that I look back,

I would wager a bet that he stopped me from telling him about the blessing from the bishop mid sentence AND put it all back on me knowing where I was going.  I was already being shamed from having sex at 19… and ACCORDING to the stake president –it was ALL my fault. Those 12 high council men sat there listening to me tell my sexual experiences and that alone was utterly traumatizing… without ever being physically touched like I had been by the bishop. THIS is a sick CULT… a horrible CULTURE ….

We NEED to do everything we can to protect children from this ABUSE!!!

I have been sitting here at my keyboard and letting myself freeform write… and the school teacher in me says, go back and reread… and edit out all the times you said the same thing as a repeat… but the adult in me who is working diligently to integrate the wounded little girl in me says, just copy this off this word doc … and paste it … share it as it… typos and all…. And add my voice NOW… and help create the awareness we need to STOP this from happening in the future!!!

One more thing to add… Back about a year ago… when I got majorly triggered after seeing THE play… I was lashing out … I was angry… I was so upset… and I called several sexual assault attorneys… I shared about what happened to me. The bishop is dead… it was years ago… but I was not “able” to speak out until recently. One of these attorneys told me there wasn’t much he could do… he wished he could…but statute of limitations in the state where this happened is passed… etc… BUT THEN he called me back. He told me that he had ALREADY dealt with cases with the LDS church…

HE told me that he called and spoke with an attorney for the church that he had worked with already… He told me that the name of the attorney is Von G. Keetch… yep, the General Authority Keetch…. The attorney told me that he didn’t tell Keetch my name… just a bit about what happened to me. Keetch told him that “They” would be willing to pay for counseling for me… AND that “They” would also meet with me personally and have me tell them in person what happened …AND that “They” could compensate me with a monetary compensation … and in turn, I would be expected to sign a legal agreement that I would NEVER publicly speak about what happened to me.

This weekend, I watched the movie “Spotlight” for the second time… IF you haven’t seen this movie about the Catholic molest coming out, YOU NEED to watch it.  I identify so much with things in that movie… like the man who tells one of the reporter team members that he HAD NEVER EVEN TOLD HIS WIFE THAT HE WAS A VICTIM OF A PRIEST MOLESTING HIM… I CAN so relate.  I have two ex husbands that I never told.  I was still very immature and just trying to HIDE the wounded little girl.  Now, I am in an amazingly safe relationship. I couldn’t even bring this up to heal until I was finally SAFE emotionally and THAT wasn’t until I was in my mid 50s…. I share this for anyone who is still struggling with a childhood molestation issue.

I now have a very close friend that I have never met in person… I met him through a Facebook group.  He was ALSO molested by his bishop when he was a boy.  When I wrote about what happened to me, he private messaged me AND TO THIS DAY he has ONLY told two people.  Me and his therapist.  But we talk on the phone regularly.  We support each other and understand each other like no one else in our lives can.  He was TBM and JUST had started looking into the CES letter stuff and visiting post-mo and ex-mo social media groups when he saw my post.  He has since turned in his resignation and been able to start to heal… so, if you resonate with what I am sharing, YOU ARE NOT ALONE… even if it wasn’t a bishop… but another adult when you were a child, this is really difficult stuff to deal with.

One last thing and I will post this.

If Keetch was so willing to sit down and hear my story and offer a monetary compensation for MY SILENCE, imagine how many have taken the “Money”… My research tells me that (except for the one case you can find in a google search for around $3 million dollars)… they offer $30,000 to $40,000 dollars for this HUSH money… There are probably a lot of people out there who would take that amount and it could help pay off their debt or help with putting a kid through college… BUT THEY can NOT silence me with thirty or forty thousand dollars… and I have insurance that pays for weekly therapy as I am still processing and integrating all the compartments I put all of this in JUST to survive.

I want to be able to speak out when someone can benefit from my story and say that I am a “Survivor” … and not a “Victim”… I was “Silent”… and hid this for many years. Not anymore!!!!

Click HERE for the petition that Amy endorses in order to protect children from this abuse.  Please take the time to SIGN it.