Three More Weeks to Unfurl Banners

Ana Leyendo-3In preparation for The Children’s March which will occur in Salt Lake City, Utah on October 5, 2019, Protect Every Child would like to share an update on the Climb A Mountain Save A Child portion of our activism for this year.

Many of our supporters have already participated in this effort. They have done a fantastic job raising public awareness of the epidemic of child abuse. It is our hope that through this awareness, more and more people will join us in calling for protection measures to be put in place in all child-serving institutions. These wonderful people have created or purchased flags, planned climbs, scaled obstacles and unfurled their banners. I wish to personally thank every one of them for the caring and courage they each so freely gave to our cause.

I don’t want the world to forget what they have done. At protecteverychild.com we now have a growing series of posts connected to the page called Banners Unfurled. Any interested persons can go there to see the pictures and read the messages that our intrepid supporters have submitted to me and to PEC. With the march being only 24 days away, I would like that day to dawn BRIGHTLY because it has been preceded by the colors of a three-week Fall Color Tour of our Protect Every Child banners.

Therefore:

I would like to invite anyone who hasn’t yet climbed a mountain to save a child to make the attempt now. You can make your own flags, or buy them from Protect Every Child. Your banner can be as simple as a hand-lettered posterboard, or a picture drawn by a child with our slogan on it . We’ll take it! We know that many of you would like to do more, but that distance, health, finances or the timing have simply made it too busy to climb this summer. Many have told me these issues are also preventing them from being able to join in our projected 5,000 member Children’s March on October 5th. We honor your good hearts. We thank you for your belief and encouragement.

So that you may feel at one with us, when we march in Salt Lake, we invite as many of you as possible, across this nation and across the world, to let your local and online participation over the next three weeks be your contribution to the children and to this cause on their behalf.

Second, I want to stress that for a child, mountains come in many forms. I encourage supporters to continue to hike their hills and scale their mountains. However, I would also like to invite you to choose to take your stand in front of any child-serving institution in your community.  For a child who is vulnerable, endangered or being abused, their mountain may very well be an institution. On the other hand, their way over and out of their mountains may be the help that they find because of a child-serving institution. So stand in front of those homes, those churches, those schools and day care centers, those public libraries and public recreation centers, those runaway and homeless youth services. Stand in front of those places which society roars out, “This institution should be a safe place for kids!” If the place you are thinking of serves children, it qualifies.

Third, I invite PEC supporters to take pictures and video at that chosen place and then share it. Email it. Post it on your social networks and in social media. Hashtag #ProtectEveryChild. Hashtag #FallColorTour. You can even share your story with us, to whatever degree you feel comfortable, by emailing it to liberty-sam@msn.com . With your written permission, my small team of volunteers and I will help everyone know how beautifully and well you have joined in on the cause to Protect Every Child.

Fourth, I invite past, present and future Climber-Unfurlers to INVITE A FRIEND to participate in the Climb A Mountain And Save A Child campaign during this three-week Fall Color Tour leading up to The Children’s March. Plan your event and take them with you. If they live too far away plan a date to climb together or simply invite to tell them about the cause of protecting children. We want to spread the word. Despite being eight months into our effort and less than a month away from the March, there are still too many people who don’t know about Protect Every Child.

May those practices and policies which have caused too many children’s hearts to fall… be ended. May the colors of autumn, combined with the hopeful colors of our banners, remind the children that things can and will change. As sure as autumn follows summer, a harvest of hope will come. With every color of the rainbow, that hope will look forth on that October morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun and terrible as an army with banners. It will rise, 5,000 people strong, through the streets of Salt Lake City… and shine.

You can register for the march HERE.

 

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11 Peaks in 11 Days: Utah Climbing Itinerary

IMG_2268Unfurling Banners to STOP CHILD ABUSE!!!

July 24 – Aug 3, 2019

Over the course of 11 days, 11 peaks and trails will be hiked to raise awareness that our children need protection, especially in religious institutions where so many of our precious little ones have been abused.

Tyler Slack has meticulously lined up the itinerary below.  I thank my friend for the hours of thought and toil required to put this all together.  He plans to join me on many if not all of the hikes.

There is a wide variety of climbs.  From easy to strenuous.  Around the Salt Lake Valley, up to Ogden and down to Utah Valley.  Some start before sunrise.  Some last past sunset.    Pick a peak and join us.

Day 1, Wed July 24:  Mt Timpanogos

Meet-up time:  4:00 am

Meet-up Location:  Timpooneke trailhead, 40.4313, -111.639

Estimated Time:  8-12 hrs (Likely shorter depending on snow pack)

Length: 14.3 miles (4,389 ft. elevation gain) 

Difficulty:  Strenuous

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Trail Information

Notes:   Climb from 7,360 ft to 11,749 feet for a total of 4,389 feet elevation gain. Allowing many extra hours to complete due to anticipated congestion due to the holiday. Possible $6 fee if starting later in the day.  The actual length of the hike may be impacted by snow pack blocking the trail.  For safety reasons, we won’t be going beyond that point.

Day 2, Thu July 25:  Mount Baldy from top of Snowbird Tram (Hidden Peak)

Meet-up time:  11:00 am

Meet-up Location:  9385 Snowbird Center Dr, Sandy, UT 84092

Estimated Time:  2 hrs (4 hrs including tram ride)

Length:  2 miles (240 ft. elevation gain)

Difficulty:  Easy

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Trail Information  

Notes:  $18 Tram Ticket (if purchased in advance

Day 3, Fri July 26:  Donut Falls

Meet-up time:  11:00 am

Meet-up Location:  Donut Falls Trailhead (40°38’22.6″N 111°39’04.4″W)

Estimated Time:  2 hrs

Length:  3 miles (531 ft. elevation gain)

Difficulty:  Easy

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Trail Information  

Notes:  Depending on how busy it is, parking at the trailhead may not be possible, in which case it’s an extra .5 mile hike from overflow parking near the canyon road.

Day 4, Sat July 27:  Ben Lomond Peak

Meet-up time:  7:00 am

Meet-up Location:  Pioneer Trail, Ogden, UT  (41°19’13.8″N 111°53’55.7″W)

Estimated Time:  7-9 hrs

Length:  14.9 miles (3,618 ft. elevation gain)

Difficulty:  Strenuous

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Trail Information 

Day 5, Sun  July 28:  Sunset Hike, Ensign Peak

Meet-up time:  8:00 pm

Meet-up Location:  166 Ensign Vista Dr, Salt Lake City, UT

Estimated Time:  1.5 hrs

Length:  .8 miles (374 ft. elevation gain)

Difficulty:  Easy

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Trail Information  

Day 6, Mon July 29:  Night hike, Big Beacon Mt. Wire Trail

Meet-up time:  9:00 pm

Meet-up Location:  Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Salt Lake City, UT (40°45’46.6″N 111°49’23.1″W)

Estimated Time:  3 hrs

Length:  4.7 miles (2,184 ft elevation gain)

Difficulty:  Moderate

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Trail Information  

Notes:  Bring flashlights

Day 7, Tue July 30:  Sugarloaf Peak (Including Cecret Lake)

Meet-up time:  11:00 am

Meet-up Location:  9530 S Campground Rd, Alta, UT 

Estimated Time:  3 hrs

Length:  5 miles (1,801 ft. elevation gain)

Difficulty:  Moderate

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Trail Information  

Notes:  Possible $6 fee to park at trailhead.  Possible shuttle to avoid fee.

Day 8, Wed July 31:  Battle Creek Falls

Meet-up time:  10:00 am

Meet-up Location:  Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Pleasant Grove, UT (40°21’46.5″N 111°42’02.8″W)

Estimated Time:  2 hrs

Length:  1.2 miles (400 ft. elevation gain)

Difficulty:  Easy

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Trail Information  

Note:  We are only going to the waterfall which is 1.2 miles round trip.

Day 9, Thu Aug 1:  Grandeur Peak

Meet-up time:  11:00 am

Meet-up Location:  Church For trailhead, 5861 Mill Creek Canyon Rd, Salt Lake City, UT

Estimated Time:  4.5 hrs

Length:  6.5 miles (2,647 ft. elevation gain)

Difficulty:  Strenuous

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Trail Information  

Notes:  $3 fee for Millcreek Canyon.

Day 10, Fri Aug 2:  Temple Quarry

Meet-up time:  10:00 am

Meet-up Location:  Little Cottonwood Creek Trail, Little Cottonwood Rd, Sandy, UT

Estimated Time:  2 hrs

Length:  2 miles (300 ft. elevation gain)

Difficulty:  Easy

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Day 11, Sat Aug 3:  Hidden Falls

Meet-up time:  11:00 am

Meet-up Location:  S-Curve in Big Cottonwood Canyon

Estimated Time:  1 hrs

Length:  .6miles (42 ft. elevation gain)

Difficulty: Easy

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Trail Information  

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Temple Side Chats

Starting on July 25, each evening after the hikes, I’ll be stationed across from Temple Square.  With microphone in hand and Facebook Live rolling, our chat will be broadcast around the world.  One hour long, it will start at 7pm MDT.

Who are invited?  Why everyone of course!

  • I hope to see friends and make many new acquaintances.
  • Parents, grandparents and any one interested in protecting every child.
  • Victims and survivors of childhood trauma are particularly welcome.  We mourn for what happened to you.  We cheer for your healing and progress.  We love and support you.  We are standing up to protect today’s children from the indignities that your suffered.

Will there be an empty chair this year?  Yes!  During the hunger strike the chair remained empty for the entire 23 days.  This year I hope it will be occupied every single night.

Who is the empty chair for?  Representatives of any institution that has implemented strong child protection protocols….especially churches.  I invite a pastors, bishops, leaders or members of a congregation to share with the world how they Protect Every Child in their organization.

News Conference

In the midst of the hiking schedule, a new conference will be held.  Please, please come.

  • Date:  Sunday July 28
  • Time:  10:30 am
  • Place:  50 West Club & Cafe
  • Address:  50 West Broadway, SLC

March to End Child Abuse

Remember, the huge upcoming event:  March for the children on October 5, 2019 in Salt Lake City.  Be a part of this historic happening.  Help us leave a lasting imprint on the lives of children who will never experience the horrors of abuse.  We need **5,000** people to show up.  Please come and bring every single person you can muster.

Register HERE.

 

 

Grass Roots Changes in the Mormon Church

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, aka the Mormon Church, still has a policy in place that requires congregational leaders to regularly take children behind closed doors and ask questions of a sexual nature.  There is no requirement to notify parents when these “worthiness” interviews take place.  The meetings are usually one-on-one unless the child “desires” that another adult be in the room.

Except for the vague instruction that they should not be “unnecessarily probing,” there is no limit to what untrained Mormon leaders can ask a child.  As a result, many bishops continue to ask totally inappropriate, shaming and harmful questions like those found HERE.

The Mormon Church MUST change their irresponsible and outdated policies that have harmed so many children.

Fortunately, there is anecdotal evidence that thoughtful parents and local Mormon leaders are stepping up to protect children on their own.  Here are 3 recent examples.

#1:  Stake president instructs, no one-on-one, no sexual questions!!!

Message receive this morning, July 13, 2019:

Sam, just thought I would drop you a line.  I have followed you for a while and have appreciated your efforts and thought you would enjoy hearing some positive news.

I was recently put into a bishopric in a Utah ward.  During my interviews with the stake presidency, I was determined to tell them that I would not do one-on-one child interviews and would not ask sexual questions.  If that were to be an issue, I could not accept the calling. 

To my great surprise, I was told by the stake presidency without any prompting from me that while I would be doing interviews with children, under no circumstances was I to ever interview a child without a parent present and I am not to ask questions of any sexual nature.

While I don’t know if that same advice was extended to the new bishop I was relieved to hear that from local leadership.  While it is a small step, it made me feel like if enough local leaders feel this way the church will change regardless of the brethren…common consent will eventually win!

#2:  Bishop eliminates one-on-one interviews

A message received yesterday:

Hi Sam, 

I have a family member who is the executive secretary to his bishop.  In their ward there has to be a chaperone for interviews with all minors and all women. Basically their bishopric has decided that if a minor or any female meets with any member of the bishopric, one of the other members of the bishopric or the executive secretary has to also be in attendance as a “chaperone” as they put it.

I know this isn’t being done everywhere and that it may not be the policy at a stake level.  Either way I know I’m happy to see it’s being done in that ward and a good step.

#3:  Bishop asks all parents to be in interviews

Recently the Mormon church sent out a survey soliciting opinions about a “proposed change” to the age for “worthiness” interviews.  Following is one of the public comments on 2KUTV’s FB page.

My brother in law is a bishop.  Every interview with a minor, he invites the parents/guardian to join them. Sometimes they refuse and other times they join. He says he interviews the same.

Good for the bishop.  There is no policy to ask parents to be present in the interviews.  He has chosen a path of protection for both the child and himself.  I can only hope that this bishop has also ditched the sexual questions.  To ask them in front of parents would be doubly shaming for the child.

Help Us Stop Child Abuse

*Protect Every Child (PEC) is no longer a lonely voice.   A COALITION of 7 organizations have rallies to our cause.  If you are part of an association who is working to protect children or support survivors, please let me know if you would like to be added to the coalition.  PEC applauds and supports the good works that all these organizations are doing to stamp out child abuse.

*Climb a mountain and save a child.  Climb a mountain, a hill or a driveway.  Unfurl a banner, take a picture share it everywhere you can.

*On October 5, 2019, bring your banners to Salt Lake City and March for the Children.  Please register in advance.  This will be an historic event.  The first major march aimed at halting child sex abuse.  Be one of the 5,000 participants shouldering our sacred responsibility to protect every child.

Protect Children Quote

Banners on Kilimanjaro

 

On June 5, 2019, 4 men reached the summit of Kilimanjaro with a common purpose:  Call for universal protections for every child against overt and covert sexual abuse.  This supremely important message was consecrated with a prayer, the text of which is shown below.

This was the hardest physical thing that I’ve ever done.  For six straight days, we hiked long hours to reach the launching point of the final ascent.  It began at midnight and took 8 1/2 hours of non-stop, seemingly vertical plodding to reach Uhuru Peak.  We dubbed it the death march.

The climb was difficult.  My sore legs will completely recover.  But the children who are sexually abused will live with the consequences for decades.  Please join me in doing what is in our power to stop the horrors.

Prayer for Children—Written by Gina Colvin

(Read at the 19,341 ft. summit of Kilimanjaro)

Mother, Father God, upon whose majestic ancestor mountain we stand, we bring before you our concerns for the children of this world and the unduly dangerous roads that many will innocently cross today.  

We ask a blessing of care over them.

We call to mind their bodies and the terrible vulnerability of our young people;

May governments, institutions, communities and families guard these tender children’s bodies well.  May their bodies be furnished with every good and lovely grace of protection and care, so that they might grow straight and strong, unencumbered by the traces of evil left upon them by the hand of avarice or neglect.

We bear in mind the spirits and souls of our children:

May all of those in positions of guardianship and care, nurture with great gentleness the Divinity and sparkle of God within, that is each child’s birthright.

We ask a blessing upon the minds of our precious youth;

May their teachers and guides be well formed and wholesome  in their own thoughts and ideas, so that all children are protected from ignorance, impoverished intellects and tyrannical ideologies that put them out of step with their true identities and belonging.

We ask a blessing on the hearts of our little ones; 

May our children be made free to feel joy, and compassion, wonder and peace at all of your creation.   May they encounter their inevitable suffering with clear minds so that they are well positioned to transform their suffering into wisdom.

And finally, we ask a blessing upon the children and adults who have been harmed by abuse, war, neglect and poverty.

Bless their broken hearts and bodies to find kindness, generosity and healing.   

And may they find deep assurances from the Source of all Compassion that they are, each of them, the Beloved.

In the name of the Creator, Pain Bearer and Breath of Life.

Amen

How can you help?

Sign the new Petition:

Climb a mountain, hilltop or driveway.  Unfurl and banner and share it.

Come to the March for the Children on October 5, 2019 in Salt Lake City.  This is the big one.  If we have 5,000 marchers, the national media will be all over it.  Institutions will be warned.  Huge awareness will be raised.  Children will be protected.  Past victims will take solace.

 

A bishop recognizes the harm he did and hopes for forgiveness.

Kaden Parker 2 YReligious leaders are waking up.  The message below gives great hope.

Sam,

Tonight, I came face to face with the bishop who asked me at age 7 about masturbation. He told me he is aware of Protect Every Child (and my affiliation with it) and hopes he will one day be forgiven for the harm he caused to any youth for questions he had no right to be asking. He also said he has signed the petition. Our work continues to roll forth and people’s hearts are changing.

Much love, _______

This is huge!!

Thanks go to my friend who confronted her years-ago bishop.  I commend this bishop who is willing to listen, learn, seek forgiveness and then fight for changes to protect children going forward.

Please join this past bishop and tens of thousands of others to protect children from covert and overt sexual abuse.

Sign the PETITION.

Climb a mountain, unfurl a banner, raise awareness.

Register to attend the March for the Children on Oct 5, 2019 in Salt Lake City.

Sue the Hell out of the Mormon Church

RyanWhiteOn March 30, 2018, one thousand child protection advocates rallied at the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City.  Books were delivered into the hands of the official Church representative.  These volumes contained hundreds of first hand stories recounting the horrific harms done to children behind the doors of Mormon bishops.

Effective with the delivery of these tragic stories, the Apostles can no longer publicly feign that they are unaware of the dangers their policies expose children to.  Indisputable evidence is now in their hands.  And everybody knows it.

It’s inexcusable that this continues to happen:

In December 2018, Bishop Jeffry Bryan Head was arrested and charged with two counts of forcible sex abuse and two counts of lewdness.  These crimes were committed while he was a serving bishop.  The victims were boys in his congregation.  Gross, disgusting, criminal behavior that will affect these children the rest of their lives.

Bishop Head is only one in a long line of Mormon bishops who have abused children.  When will the Church do what is right?  These crimes were facilitated by one-on-one interviews where sexually explicit questions are fair game.  NO OTHER CHURCH allows this behavior.  The Mormon leaders should have made appropriate policy changes  the day we delivered the evidence of their wrong-doings.

So how is it that the church will finally be dragged into the modern world of truly caring for children’s safety?  If a child is abused, here’s my recommendation:

SUE THE HELL OUT OF THE MORMON CHURCH

They don’t seem to listen to anything else.

It’s inexcusable that this continues to happen:

In April 2019, a “lifetime registered sex offender was arrested for sexually assaulting a minor.”  He was a leader in the local Mormon congregation.  Why was he allowed to work with the youth?  Because the Mormon Church requires NO BACKGROUND CHECKS on anybody.  Not on the congregational leaders.  Not on the regional leaders.  Not on any adult who works with children.

This is inexcusable.  The Mormon Church has become a safe hunting ground for pedophiles.

If a child is abused, here’s my recommendation:

SUE THE HELL OUT OF THE MORMON CHURCH

They don’t seem to listen to anything else.

Help Stamp Out Child Sex Abuse in Religious Institutions

Protect Every Child has mountainous plans  to save children in 2019.  Please stand up and make a difference.

  1. Sign the New Petition.
  2. Share and talk about the petition.
  3. Climb a mountain, unfurl a banner, take a picture and share it.
  4. Come to the March on October 5, 2019 in Salt Lake City.

The march will make all the difference in the world if….lots of people show up.    The media pays attention to numbers.  So do institutions, politicians and society at large.  And large need to be our numbers for October 5th.  The lofty goal is 5,000 child protection advocates marching the streets of Salt Lake City while waving the banners that have been unfurled high on the mountain tops.

 

My Apology for Racism–F&T Meeting June 3, 2018

Black and White

Last weekend I was in Portland for a Protect Every Child event.  It was marvelous.  About 50 child protection advocates climbed to Multnomah Falls and unfurled many banners.

While I was there, the topic of past racist policies of the Mormon Church came up.  It reminded me of a fast & testimony meeting from just a year ago.  I stood and read the words below.  Obviously, I thought it was a pretty good testimony.

However, a few tattle-tales in the congregation disagreed.  They ran to the local leaders to report me.  The stake president called me in and told me not to bring up any more issues in future testimonies.  He instructed me to only bear testimony of the Church, Joseph Smith, the current prophet, the Book of Mormon, etc.

Some context.  At the Fast & Testimony meeting one month before, I had born witness of my love for the teachings and example of Jesus Christ.  As soon as the meeting was over a prominent member of the congregation rushed over to me.  In a patronizing tone he scolded, “Without a full-throated witness of the restoration, your testimony was like tinkling brass.”

June 3, 2018 Testimony:

Last month I shared my testimony of the teachings and example of Jesus Christ. I took some flak for not having mentioned the restoration or the prophets.

Today, I’m going to correct that.

I want to give our current crop of apostles and prophets a strong shout out of support. Last Friday, the church held an event to officially celebrate the 40 year anniversary of the reversal of our church doctrine that forbid black men from receiving the priesthood and prohibited both black men and black women from entering the temple.

This ban on church privileges was lifted in 1978. I had the honor of sitting in a Houston chapel during general conference when Elder N. Eldon Tanner presented the lifting of the ban for a sustaining vote. My hand was proudly raised in support of changing our policy. This is a great example of the Law of Common Consent in action. All policies and major decisions are supposed to be presented to the membership for approval or disapproval. I love this empowering element of the restored gospel. So, there’s my full-throated endorsement of a glorious principle that came directly as a part of the restoration.

Now, I want to express my appreciation and respect for our current apostles and prophets. 4 years ago, the apostles did something very gutsy that no top leadership has ever done before. They published an essay on LDS.org entitled Race and the Priesthood. It condemns our past racism. It disavows our past racist doctrine, teachings and practices. That’s a disavowal and condemnation of what all the past prophets and apostles from Brigham Young on have taught regarding black people being cursed with a dark skin. Hallelujah!!!

Unfortunately, until 4 years ago when this essay was published, I completely believed our racist teachings that are now officially condemned.  I’m glad that the church celebrated the lifting of the ban.  However, I wish that there had also been an official full-throated apology for our past racism.

Today, I offer my apology and the apology of many, many of my friends.  We are sorry that we were gullible enough to believe that our white skin was a reflection of our righteousness in the pre-mortal life.  And that a black skin was a reflection of the opposite.

I’m sorry that these disavowed practices, which I fully supported, marginalized an entire race for 150 years within the church of Jesus Christ.

I offer this apology in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Three months later, I was excommunicated.