Today, I received 3 encouraging reports.
- Several active families in Tucson are working in their stake to implement petition style interviews.
- Several active families in Scotland are working on the same thing. They have promised to return & report.
- 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.
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.”
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.