On Sunday, September 16, I stood before 5 TV news cameras and 250 supporters in the shadow of the Salt Lake Temple. A few days before, the verdict of my disciplinary council had been delivered to me in a sealed envelope. On this occasion I opened the letter and read it to the world. Here are the words I dispensed in response.
Last Sunday, September 9, a disciplinary Council was convened to consider the disposition of my membership. I have been formally accused of apostasy.
The court began at 6pm and lasted 1 ½ hours. During the tribunal, my stake president, the Church’s official representative in my area, spent 15 minutes presenting the evidence against me. I was then allowed 45 minutes to present my case. The Stake President then made a declaration that surprised me. He stated that no decision would be announced that night. Instead, the verdict would be given to me in a few days. Sure enough a few days ago, 2 men arrived at my place of business and delivered this envelope containing my sentence.
It’s likely that this is the first time in Mormon history that a disciplinary council decision has been opened in public by the accused. Usually, excommunication is viewed with shame and dishonor. My case is diametrically different. Whatever decision is rendered, whether it’s excommunication or exoneration, I will wear it as a badge honor. It will be my reward for standing up to protect our children and for having given a voice to the countless children in our past who have been so badly harmed behind closed doors.
(I then opened and read the letter. You can link to it HERE.)
What a supreme disappointment. Let me start by forgiving my stake president. In a church court he is the sole decision maker. No one else has a vote. But, I’m not going to lay this travesty on him. I don’t believe he had any choice. This has been orchestrated by the very people who felt their authority was threatened by me—the leadership at the very top. They have shown their true colors. This verdict is all about them and their power structure. They sent down the edict to protect themselves rather than to protect our precious children.
They continue to mandate one-on-one interviews where sexually explicit questions are approved and facilitated. I have confronted these top church leaders with a list of 29 disgusting, filthy questions that are being asked to our children. They responded with silence! The First Presidency condones this pornography behind closed doors with our children. That is sickening. I presented the same 29 probing questions as evidence at my tribunal. They were not silent. They excommunicated me. The whistle blower has been kicked out and branded with the label of apostasy.
I also presented the apostles with several thousand horror stories of how their policies have wrought dreadful damage. They ignored these accounts from their own victims. Brushed them aside with not a single mention. At the tribunal, as part of my evidence, I gave all 16 members of the council a printed book with 802 accounts of abuse resulting from one-on-one interviews with probing sexually explicit questions. No thank you was uttered. No compassion for the victims was spoken. Instead they chose to kick the whistle blower out.
By excommunicating the whistle blower the apostles have chosen to protect themselves and throw the bishops under the bus. They have shown a complete disregard for the reputations of the local congregational leaders.
For too long, Mormon children have been the collateral damage of one-on-one meetings with Mormon bishops. That is going to be reversed. The values of society are changing…for the better. MORMON BISHOPS are going to become the collateral damage rather than the children. Many parents and children are not going to stand for this any long. I am now aware of 3 interviews between minors and bishops that have been recorded.
I just received the following message about a recent bishop’s interview: “My 15 year old daughter had a bishops interview and he asked her if she views pornography. My daughter said “No.” Then the bishop asked her ‘What would you do if your friends walked up to you and tried to show you pornography?’ In what sick fantasy world does this bishop think my daughter needs to answer his questions about a fictional scenario in which teenage girls watch porn together?! Worthlessness interviews are insane & need to stop. She recorded her interview, but I think it might against the law to do that without both parties permission. I will post it if I’m wrong.”
Many people are fed up. Teenagers have cell phones. Before I entered last Sunday’s tribunal, my cell phone was confiscated to prevent a recording. In addition, I was forced to sign a non-record agreement on penalty of being barred from my own hearing. Going forward the Church will not be able to prevent teenagers from recording masturbation interviews. Bishops & bishop counselors…I encourage & warn you…do not take children all alone behind closed doors. Do not discuss sex. From now on, every time you do, you risk your reputation and livelihood.
In Massachussetts, if you call the child abuse hotline and tell them that a man is taking a kid in private and asking them probing sexual questions about their masturbation, pornography and sexual activities – they would start an investigation.
If you told them it was a catholic priest who was doing it – they would be even more interested in investigating it.
If you told them it was a Mormon Bishop who was doing it – they would say it makes no difference.
In 18 states, including Utah, Idaho and Arizona, all citizens are mandated reporters when they become aware of child abuse. What the church subjects our children to is abusive. When more parents start waking up to that fact – people are going to start reporting the local bishops for conducting these interviews and state authorities will take action.
Bishops be warned, people are now watching. Children are now recording. Your livelihoods and reputations are at risk. My excommunication is a clear demonstration that the church is not serious about child safety and they certainly don’t give a damn about your safety. Nope. You are on your own. When bishops start being reported to the child abuse hotline, that bishop’s reputation will be toast & it will tarnish the reputation of all bishops. YOU will become the collateral damage of a policy that protects no one; not you, not our children.
Some people claim that what Mormons allow to be done to their children doesn’t really affect the general society outside of the Mormon Church. That’s a bogus claim. When our children die by suicide, the effects ripple through other children’s lives. When Mormon children are shamed into self-hatred they often start making terrible decisions, turning to alcohol, drugs, disastrous marriages, divorce. A dysfunctional self-loathing youth becoming a dysfunctional self-loathing adult. Our practice has put many kids in a shame cycle that causes their self-worth to spiral lower and lower, drowning them in anxiety and desperation. This is very costly to the welfare of our entire society.
I have been excommunicated from the Church. But, they have no power to excommunicate me from the cause of protecting children and promoting the healing of my friends. There are tens of thousands of us who are actively involved in the movement to protect LDS Children. I now direct my words to the victims and survivors of Mormon worthiness interviews. We see you. We hear you. We are sorry for what happened to you. It was wrong. Very wrong. We know you were horribly hurt. You were alone. You were a mere child. Today we boldly stand up and speak up to give your child-self a voice. Thank you for allowing me and all of us to be a part of your healing journey. Thank you for locking arms with me and so many others in daring to face down the Mormon Church in order to protect today’s children.
For our children’s sake, this whistle blower is not going to stop roaring.