During the first session of the October 2018 General Conference of the Mormon Church, President Dallin H. Oaks delivered a very troubling speech.
In response, Oaks was called out by a sitting Utah state senator–Jim Dabakis. Finally, the irresponsible words of Mormon leaders are being condemned in the political arena. The groundbreaking courage of Senator Dabakis is highly admirable.
I echo his bold sentiment:
To all LGBTQ youth in Utah and EVERYWHERE else,
You are precious. You are as normal as I am, a 65 year old straight man. I see you. I hear you. I love you. Disregard the reprehensible bullying tactics used by Elder Oaks. Society is moving forward. The likes of Elder Oaks are being left behind. You, my dear gay, trans, lesbian, bi and queer youth, will no longer be left behind. Not by me. Not by Senator Dabakis. Not by the locomotive of societal progress. And not by the thousands upon thousands of members of the LDS Church who totally disagree with the church’s treatment of our children and youth. We stand by you. We will not be silent.
The public protest of Senator Dabakis gives me encouragement and validation. For the past couple of weeks, I have mulled over what to do next. I’d tentatively decided to take a daunting step into the Texas political arena. You see, our state Legislature has ALREADY given a name to the damage that Mormon interviews cause to our children. We Texans call it CHILD ABUSE. Here’s the applicable description:
What Constitutes Abuse in Texas
Inflicting or failing to reasonably prevent others from inflicting mental or emotional injury impairing child’s growth, development, or psychological functioning; physical injury resulting in substantial harm; sexual abuse, exploitation, use of controlled substance resulting in mental or physical harm to child.
What’s more, Texas is a Mandatory reporting state for everybody.
Texas law requires anyone with knowledge of suspected child abuse or neglect to report it to the appropriate authorities. This mandatory reporting requirement applies to all individuals and is not limited to teachers or health care professionals. The law even extends to individuals whose personal communications may be otherwise privileged, such as attorneys, clergy members and doctors or nurses.
The sacred stories of damaged Mormon children are laced with the type of child abuse defined in red above.
In the Lone Star State, the laws are already in place to stop what is happening behind Mormon Bishops’ closed doors. What is needed is a mechanism to arouse broad public awareness. Then, to bring that public awareness to the attention of political, law enforcement and child protection leaders.
Details of how to move this initiative forward are being discussed and hashed out. Not sure when it will be launched. But, it’s coming. Thank you Senator Dabakis for the stimulus and encouragement you have provided to me.
Thanks also go to my stake president for handing me the MEGAPHONE of excommunication. I plan to use it well.