The First Banners are Unfurled

Banner Enchanted Rock

This morning, I and three of my grandchildren climbed Enchanted Rock.  A landmark in central Texas.  Being four hours from Houston, it made for an all day adventure.  The kids loved it.  I loved it.  They want to plant more flags and then come to the march this fall in Salt Lake City.

As you can see, there was quite a breeze….a cold breeze.  Fortunately, the hike up the steep slope had warmed us.  Never-the-less, we were glad to descend when our little ceremony was finished.

Ceremony?  Well…we videoed the whole thing.  I’ll post it soon.  First, we assembled the flag poles.  Then the banners were unfurled in the perfect wind.  Finally, I gave a little speech which you’ll find below.  Pretty much everyone on the summit, about 20 people, gathered as the colorful flags started to wave.  Their attention was especially riveted when I got to the Mormon part of my presentation.

Unfurling Speech

Today is January 1st, 2019.  As we unfurl these 3 banners on the summit of Enchanted Rock, we declare this year as the year to Protect Every Child

We plant these flags in memory of our precious and innocent children.  We call the attention of the world to their vulnerability.  1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18.  Abuse is dreadfully abundant.  Yet, to most of us it’s an invisible monster stalking and destroying our kids.

We unfurl these banners in memory of the abused children of yesteryear who are now adults.  We know you are there.  What happened to you was not your fault.  It was wrong.   You are loved.  We care that you were harmed.  If you have spoken up we believe you.  If this is not the time for you to speak up, we will be your voice.

From this mountain top, we call upon all institutions to take every step possible to Protect Every Child.  We encourage churches to implement the full range of best practices regarding all adults dealing with children such as finger prints, background checks, criminal checks, regular & professional training, 2 deep leadership.

We call on law makers to take up this issue as a priority.  I was very encouraged by a news report that I woke up to this morning from Australia.  The headline: 

Abuse victims can sue churches much more effectively.

The attorney general said this: “I’m pleased my first item of business in 2019 is to create a fairer civil litigation system for all child abuse survivors.”

“The new laws stipulate a duty of care on organizations which exercise care, supervision or authority over children, to prevent abuse perpetrated by individuals associated with it. It reverses the onus of proof onto institutions, requiring they prove they took reasonable steps to prevent abuse.”

“It is also to encourage institutions to do everything they can to prevent the abuse from occurring in the first place.”

Good for you Australia. 

In 2018, our focus was only on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

Dear Mormon Church: Soon you will have nowhere to hide.  You are now singled out as the most unsafe institutional church in America.  You have employed almost none of the best practices to protect children.  And you mandate some of the absolute worst practices.  You facilitate one-on-one behind closed door interviews between adult males and children.  Then you mandate that these adult men ask the children about sex and allow any sexually explicit question that the adult feels prompted to probe the children with.

Mormon church and every other church, we call on you to do everything you can to prevent abuse from occurring.  Everything.  Our children deserve no less.

Now, these are the first 3 banners unfurled on a mountain top.  I ask that everyone in the sound of my voice make a New Year’s resolution to take up the cause of protecting every child.

Pick a peak to climb.  Whether it’s the top of Kilimanjaro or the top of your driveway, it matters not.  Plant a flag.  Take a picture.  Share it with family and friends.  Then, if you can, join us this fall in Salt Lake City as we march in unison to unfurl our flags in memory of our children.

What Can You Do

  1. Climb a mountain, peak or driveway.  Unfurl a banner or poster.  Take a picture & share.
  2. Share this opportunity with friends and family.  This is no longer just a Mormon adventure to protect Mormon children.  Invite your friends of all religious persuasions.
  3. Make plans to come to the march this fall and wave your banner high.
  4. If you can’t come to the march, that’s ok.  We’ll carry a banner in your honor.

This is a high and noble cause.  We are saving children, both in and out of the Mormon Church.

On March 30, 2018, a THOUSAND people marched the streets of Salt Lake City with bold and colorful signs.  It was magical.

Now imagine this fall:  FIVE THOUSAND men, women and children bearing banners from mountain tops around the world proclaiming a message of safety and healing.  That’s my goal–5,000!!!  At this point, I know it will be at least 3.

BE A PART OF IT.

Preparations

PLDSC has a ton of preparation to do.  Two things that will happen soon to support you.

  1. A registry will be published where you can record in advance what mountain, hill or driveway you plan to climb.
  2. Banners will be made available for purchase.  Of course, home made flags are wonderful.  That’s the route we went for our first mountain climb.

This will be an amazing adventure of a lifetime for all of us.

 

Advertisements

Devastating to adults? To children it can destroy.

lacrima

A story from a friend.

It was the mid 80’s. I had already suffered 2 miscarriages. This was devastating to me. I wanted to be a mother more than anything in the world. I came from a large family. I was taught that this was my destiny as a woman in the church. It killed me a little bit when I would see a woman yelling at her kids in the grocery store.

I remember laying on the floor in the living room of our modest 2 bedroom apartment. We had painted the second room baby blue, in hopes of having a boy. I was having symptoms of another miscarriage, spotting and cramps. My husband brought in 2 male members of our ward. I was given a blessing of health and that “everything would turn out right.”

Later that night, I went into full labor and delivered a baby that fit into my husband’s hand. He said that it was deformed. That is something that I can thank him for, he did not allow me to see my baby. I would have had nightmares. He buried it in the flower garden outside of our apartment.

At our next temple recommend interviews, the bishop asked if I kept the law of Chastity. I answered yes, because I had only had sex with my husband within the bounds of marriage. My husband told me later that he had confessed to the bishop that we had tried oral sex. The bishop told my husband that we were evil and that the miscarriage was due to breaking the law of chastity.

After that, I descended into a deep depression. My feelings of worthlessness were overwhelming. My self esteem was zero. It was late summer, I remember canning corn. As I cut the corn off the cobs, I was thinking that, if I am not worthy and good enough to be a mother, I must not be worthy to eat. From that time forward, I just existed in what I called a “zombie” state. My world had so much pain that I felt nothing. I equated the feeling of being hungry with a positive state of being. At my thinnest, I was 105 pounds which was really thin for a tall female.

It has been years, since this time period in my life. Recently, a friend traveled to the city where this happened. Memories of the past came flooding back. I used google maps to find the my apartment. It was still there, but the flower garden wasn’t. I have different beliefs now, but it still pains me to know that the body of the baby I called Jonathan is under a parking lot now.

I still struggle with eating and food. Sometimes I horde food, sometimes I will only eat when I am with someone. When I am sick I fall back into the same physical feeling, I have to force myself to eat. I have been to see several therapists, but not one that understands the culture of guilt and shame that is perpetrated by the Mormon church. I hope and wish that all that have endured spiritual abuse by the hands of the church will find peace and healing.

Guilt and shame that is perpetrated by the Mormon church

There was a time that I viewed a lay clergy as an advantage. Today, I see it very differently. Having untrained clergy is an advantage only to the financial health of the LDS Corporation, saving it millions of dollars every year.

It is a huge disadvantage to members who need professional pastoral guidance and understanding. Instead, they are often subjected to uninformed, clumsy and dangerous counsel. In this case, it was devastating. Blaming a miscarriage on oral sex? Heinous on the bishop’s part and resulting in decades of depression and disorders.

Although the woman in the story was an adult, here is how she described her immature state of development way back when:  “I was basically a child as far as education. I Knew nothing of normal sexual interaction.”

What the Mormon church so often does to both its children and adults is gut-wrenching and preventable.  It’s time that either the church change its ways or the members stand up and protect themselves.

Please join us in our 2019 campaign to Protect Every Child.  More information will be rolled out in the coming weeks.

On New Year’s Day, our very first banner will be unfurled high on a mountain top.