The first news conference for Protect LDS Children. And my first one, too. Natasha Helfer Parker and Joelle Casteix were amazing, as you’ll see.
Attendance: 75. YAY!!!
Media: 4 TV stations, the 2 major Salt Lake City papers, several other significant local publications. The Church’s media arms were there: Deseret News and KSL TV.
Media Coverage: Several articles in print, TV, & radio. Major coup.
New Petition Signatures: At least 700 so far. They continue to roll in. Awareness is on the rise.
Setting Boundaries: A handful of members have reported that they plan to use the new template to set boundaries in order to protect their children. This is huge. It means that real children have actually been extended a new level of safety within the church.
The News Conference Video
My Remarks in Text
Last night I received this message:
“In 2014, l lost my 14 year old son to suicide. His chat logs before his death hint he was struggling with feeling worthy. I have no doubts that these Bishop’s interviews played a role in my son’s end of life decision.
After 3 1/2 years of intense research and pondering of his decision, I place these interviews as third on the list for why he made the decision. My haunting regrets tell me he might still be alive if I had not required that he participate in these interviews.”
I don’t know how a parent ever heals from this. This dad is watching the news conference as we speak from his home in Las Vegas.
My dear friend at your home, I and 11,000 others apologize from the bottom of our hearts that this happened to your son on our watch. I was complicit by not paying attention to the practices of my own church. I won’t make that mistake again.
These 11,000, which now includes you, are committed to warning all Mormon parents to the horrid dangers of these interviews. It’s still our watch. Now we are informed. We will not be haunted by our own silence.
When it comes to protecting our children, I have no tolerance whatsoever for political correctness. What I say next may offend every person I know. But, I want to express the empathetic passion that I now feel after having read 1,000 stories of what we have done to our children.
So here goes. We are killing our children. This child is not the first to have committed suicide. I know dozens who have attempted it. Hundreds who have considered it.
We are raping our children. Seven year old Sandy on the bishop’s desk. Twelve year old Amy at the bishop’s knees. Yeah, you can read their stories. But, they are so hard to read. Courageous Sandy and brave Amy, thank you for making it safe for others to come forward.
We are shaming our beautiful children into loathing themselves. We ruin their childhood. We torment their adulthood. I have read hundreds and hundreds of these heart-breaking stories.
We are grooming our precious children to be unsuspecting targets of the pedophiles among us.
This has to stop. And WE are not going to stop until it does.
Now, for the update that I promised in the news release.
- On October 31, 2017 we launched the petition: Protect The Children–Stop Sexually Explicit Interviews of Mormon Youth. Our goal was 10,000 signatures. That benchmark was reached on Christmas Eve. Over 5,000 signatories are from Utah. Currently, there are 11,475 thundering voices calling for the immediate stop of one-on-one interviews and probing questions about masturbation and other sexually explicit matters.
- The website protectldschildren.org has been created to provide an easily accessible location to share and read the stories of the damages that we are doing to our kids.
- 173 stories have now been recorded on the site. Eight of them have been converted to video format.
- Some parents are waking up to the risk of their children and have asked for a letter that can be sent to their bishop. One is now available on the website under “Set Boundaries.” Click the button and up pops a simple template.
- So, what’s our next step? We are announcing that right now. It’s The March for the Children. On March 30th, 2018, 1,000 of us will gather at City Hall. Then march 5 blocks to the Church Office Building. There, we will deliver our petition directly to the Church.
But, our actions will not cease today, only to resume on March 30th. Nope. Our children are too precious to just keep sending them behind closed doors.
We are calling for this practice to stop immediately, today. How can we accomplish that?
First, we call on the good parents of the church. Starting today, do not permit your child to be interviewed alone. Do not permit sexual question to be asked of your child. A sample letter to set interview boundaries can be found on the website.
Second, we call on the good bishops of the church to cease this practice immediately. Always invite a parent into every interview, to be inside the room, in support of their child. Going forward, never ask about masturbation or any other sexually probing questions. Do.Not.Shame.Our.Children. Protect our children from all harm. This will protect you, too.
Third, we call on the good leaders at the top of the church to give instructions to immediately stop this practice. Protect our children. Now. Not in 3 months. Not in 3 years. Protect our children now.
Of course, I recognize that the church may not act quickly. Parents…they are your children. You CAN act immediately….for your children’s sake.
Finally, I believe the vast majority of bishops are good men. Most did not intend to harm our children. Until this past year, I did not understand exactly how we are traumatizing our kids.
But, now we know. We are informed. From this day forward, I will no longer give bishops a break for committing the blunders of the past. They are no longer unintended errors of ignorance. The next time a bishop takes a child behind closed doors…the harm is intentional. The next time a bishop shames our children about masturbation…you have damaged our children intentionally.
I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I love the teachings and example of Jesus, especially this one:
“Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”
Today we call for the immediate stop of offending our little ones.