Adam & the Bishop

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For the sake of anonymity, I’ll call this boy ‘Adam.’

His story is #4 on ProtectEveryChild.com  and #1054 on ProtectLDSChildren.org.  During my correspondence with Adam, he gave me his permission to publish it here.

First, I want to thank the 1,067 victims who have shared their stories of abuse.  You made it safe for this man to write and share his story.

When I first read Adam’s narrative, my shock quickly turned to anger and sadness.  It’s a mixture of emotions that I have become very familiar with.  The anger drives me to fight my damnedest to eradicate all practices that facilitate this horror.  The sadness draws my empathy to the surface.

I asked myself this question, ‘How much grooming did it take before the bishop felt safe enough to do what he did to this child?”

Tears come as I write this. I am going to climb mountain after mountain after mountain, literally and figuratively, to stop more stories like Adam’s from being written in the heart of a child again.  Please, please join me.

**Strong Trigger Warning**

**Disturbingly graphic sexual story below.

**DO NOT READ if you could be re-victimized

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**I read the story because I wanted to understand what our children can face all alone with a Mormon bishop.

When I was age 11-15, I had different experiences with different bishops. I have never had the courage to say anything, and I also have never had a place where I can feel safe to talk about it. These men are part of my family’s community still to this day, and the encounters were so long ago (I am now 24) that is just doesn’t seem like it will even help to approach them.

My first bishop was a very jovial and traditional Mormon bishop (he told pioneer tales and frequently called up youth to recognize them for their valiant examples of faith in sacrament meeting).

I had an instance where I had confided in my bishop about seeing a pornographic picture and how it was hard to get it out of my head. He kept asking me how the picture made me feel, even though I told him it made me feel yucky and scared. When he obsessed over this I assumed that he was trying to fish out of me some secret evil thought that I thought in order for him to help me repent.

Even though we had an opening prayer, he stopped the meeting and said that we needed to pray. He asked me to pray and to ask God to make me feel the same feelings I felt when I looked at the photo so that I could remember them and repent. When I opened my eyes mid prayer, I he apparently had scooted his office chair in front of me, and he had his legs spread with an obvious erection just a foot away from me. Most terrifying, his eyes were open while mine were closed, and he was smiling. After the meeting concluded we both stood up, and he shook my hand.  Now that he was standing his pants were loose enough for the erect penis to be literally pointed right at me. I kept repenting for even noticing it and it made me feel even more perverted, like it was a test

The second encounter has brought me immeasurable sorrow and still as I am typing this makes my stomach feel like its in ropes. I was 15. This time it was a different bishop. He later on became a member of my stake presidency and was known for his strong connection to the youth and his tenor voice as he sang in the choir. I was entering his office because I had “heavy petted” a girl in my high school consensually, but I felt grief stricken by it.

He told me that I could not fully repent unless I saw him and told him the details of the petting. Instead of asking how long and things he started asking me details that at the time I thought were part of the process (I thought I was supposed to feel humiliated, and conflated that with godly sorrow). His first humiliating question was “Did your hands smell differently?” I told him that I din’t know. He assured me “I know its embarrassing but I want you to know that as a judge in Israel the Lord knows your thoughts, and withholding details will disqualify you for the atonement.”

I didn’t know what to say because I didn’t smell my hands. He then asked me if “they smelled like tuna, and asked me if I sucked it off of my fingers, or asked her to suck it off of my fingers.” I told him neither. He seemed irritated but went on to ask me to describe the girl’s anus. I had never went near that area. He told me that I needed to tell him everything.

After about 20 awkward minutes of him projecting his fantasies, he asked me to read in the scriptures. We read about the people looking at the snake on the stick and how it healed them. I don’t remember what part of the bible it was. But he told me that I must never tell anybody but that the lord was going to give me a special opportunity because “He loved me and that I was favored among my peers, and destined for great trust.” He then gave me a blessing with the chair in the center of the room.

As he was giving it, and his hands were on my head, I remember feeling on of his hands leave my head, and then return. On the back of my head I could feel something warm poking me. I didn’t realize, but he had pulled his penis out, and it was touching my head. I remember my hairs all standing on end as in the blessing he said “The Lord now commands you, Brother _______ to look and be healed, as the faithful in ancient times,.” And that “this opportunity was sacred, and that others had not the faith as I did, and would not receive this opportunity.” When he said amen, I quickly got up and turned around to quickly shake his hand, but he swiveled around fast enough to slap me in the face with his erect penis. It didn’t hurt, but I remembered that I didn’t know how to react and said “oh woah I’m sorry!”

I wanted to weep or to just leave the bishops office, but he started bombarding me with compliments and “revelation that the lord gave him of my valiance.” He told me that if I look at “what the Lord has provided” that his priesthood keys would “discharge a blessing of forgiveness.” (Looking back I feel as though he must have planned to ejaculate, but it never happened.) After looking at his erect penis (I can still fully visualize it in my memory) I remember he told me that the Lord was lifting my burdens. He then situated a bag of starburst over his penis, and asked me if I would like one. He had pulled open a hole to insert his penis and was wanting me to reach inside. I declined and said that I am “not hungry” an he protested that I love starburst (He had given them to all of the youth before and I loved the pink ones.) I remembered he stood up, and let go of the bag of candy, and it spilled out on the floor but the bag was still on his erect penis. He then sat down, and we had a closing prayer. I DISTINCTLY remember him asking me to pray, and to include asking BOTH of us for forgiveness for the “many sins” that “the Lord showed unto us” that day.

I have gone to therapy and have declined giving them incriminating details. However, the process has helped me to feel like I am not guilty even though I still feel like its my fault to this day.

My friend Adam, it was never your fault.  Your story will help fuel the drive to protect children of the future.  For that, I am grateful.

Take Action

+Please sign the new PETITION.

+Share the PETITION with friends and family.

+Climb a mountain, hill or driveway.  Unfurl a banner, take a picture and share.

+Register for the Children’s March on Oct 5th in Salt Lake City.

Together, we are going to save future children from the horrors of child sex abuse.

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Depravity with a Child Acceptable in the Mormon Church

Shame-ChildFirst the Good News

A new message from a friend.  The following happened in a Mormon chapel.

Recently, a family member’s daughter went in for a bishop’s interview.  She told the boy who was waiting to go in, that he could go first because she was waiting for her Mom to go in with her.  He said,  “Don’t worry, I’m waiting here for my Mom too.”  The culture is changing and you had a lot to do with that.  What a great mark to leave.

On the front lines there are good parents whose eyes are being opened.  They are not waiting for the Church.  Instead they are taking the safety of their children into their own hands and not allowing one-on-one interviews.

By the way, this is no longer MY mark.  This is a mark that WE are leaving.

***Trigger Warning***

***Graphic Sexual Question***

***Psychological Sex Abuse of a Child***

Depravity

Today I spoke with a delightful couple in their early 30’s.  Both had left the Church in the past year.  When the husband heard about Protect LDS Children he was immediately interested in our cause.  His childhood bishop interviews still haunt him.

In his first interview this bishop asked if he masturbated.  The boy didn’t know what it meant.  The bishop described it in lurid detail.  In subsequent meetings the questions about masturbation became increasingly explicit.

And then he shared the coup de gras.  At some point the bishop probed with the following query:

Have you ever tasted your own ejaculate?

WHAT THE HELL!!!!  Mormons, can’t you see how horrendous this is?  The question itself is shame inducing and way beyond the extreme boundary of propriety .  What do you suppose a child is thinking, all alone behind a closed door with an older man?  And then to be asked…HAVE YOU EVER TASTED YOUR EJACULATE???

Yes I’M SHOUTING.  THIS.IS.CHILD.ABUSE.  And yet, it’s totally acceptable in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  You, my Mormon friends, should be ashamed that the so called apostles of Jesus Christ allow pornographic probing of children.  It does all kinds of damage.  At this point, I’m glad to have been excommunicated.  I am ashamed of what your Church permits to be done to its young ones.

This depraved question has been added to the 29 Questions permissible in the Mormon Church and yet are revolting to the rest of the world.

Protect Every Child

We’re moving forward, putting things in place for big actions this summer.

  1. We have pivoted to protecting all children regardless of religious affiliation.
  2. The NEW petition is up.  Please sign and share.  This is very important.
  3. The NEW website has just been published.  I’ll post an article soon discussing it in more detail.  Although several pages are still under construction, it contains valuable information.
  4. Flags are now available for purchase.  I hope you are planning to plant a banner on a mountain peak, a hill top or at the end of a driveway.  Of course, homemade flags are totally acceptable.
  5. Soon we’ll start reaching out to other youth serving organizations for support and endorsement.
  6. We will also be inviting therapists, psychologists, and other professionals to endorse and join our movement.

For a fuller discussion of Protect Every Child click HERE.

 

Anger!!!!!

Bishop arrested

Today as I drove to work, I felt this wonderful God-given emotion well-up.  It’s been awhile since ire has made its appearance.  When it comes, I now embrace it.  It motivates me to action and creativity.

Where did this anger come from this morning?

I continue to receive stories everyday.  Sometimes to share on the website.  Sometimes by PM or email which is not meant to be shared.  The anger boiled up as I contrasted the devastation done to countless children and the deadly silence from the Mormon Church.

They come out with asinine revelations like every time the nickname ‘Mormon’ is used it’s a victory for Satan.  THAT IS STUPID.  Trivial statements like this reveal the emperor’s nakedness.

Yet, their so-called communications with God leave policies in place that facilitate self-hatred among our children.  They offer no apology for the vast damage done.  No validation.  No recognition.  No discussion.  Instead–PRIDE. ARROGANCE. HUBRIS.  Showing supreme hypocrisy in their claim that they speak for Jesus Christ himself.

I was already angry this afternoon when I received notice that a sitting bishop in Utah had been arrested in a human trafficking sting.  Here’s a quote from the Police Department’s  news release about this bishop.

“Moss has recently served as a leader of a local religious congregation, which also allowed him contact with vulnerable individuals who could be exploited.”

Vulnerable individuals?  They are referring to the Mormon children who he was mandated to interview regularly.  Exploited?  Bishops can ask any sexual question, no matter how pornographic.  From “Do you masturbate?” to….well there is no limit.

The police understand the danger and noted it in their release.  When will ALL MORMON PARENTS get it?  When you allow your children to be interviewed all alone about sex, you are serving-up your vulnerable and precious ones on a silver platter for possible abuse, dreadful damage and years of recovery.

DO NOT ALLOW ANY ONE-ON-ONE INTERVIEWS WITH YOUR CHILDREN.  DO NOT ALLOW THEM TO BE INTERROGATED WITH ANY SEX QUESTIONS.  EVER!!!*

*Unless it’s by a professionally trained counselor.

Climb a Mountain, Save a Child

FlagsPEC

I’m also angry that the church is so obstinate in their refusal to protect children that I feel forced to continue fighting for change.  So be it.  This year we will fight for change in every denomination.  Sex abuse scandals are coming to light everywhere.  I really appreciate the Houston Chronicle’s in-depth investigative article into the problems of the Southern Baptist Convention.

With anger at my back, I’m going to climb mountains to save children.  To raise awareness to the imperative need of putting safeguards in place in every church and every youth serving institution.

I haven’t yet posted the full details of plans for this year.  I will soon.  But there is news today:  The flags have arrived!!!  In their primary color glory.  We are working on the website and they’ll be available for purchase in a few days.  Of course, you can make your own.

Make plans now to climb a mountain, a hill or a driveway and plant a flag.

The date for the coming march has been set and approved by the Salt Lake City permitting office.  Saturday, October 5, 2019.  This is history in the making.

As the country continues to be rocked by child sex abuse scandals on a massive scale, we will not sit on our thumbs and just read about it.  On a massive scale, we will shout from the mountain tops for this horror to end.  It’s up to us.  Not the media.  Not the church hierarchy.  Not the government.  Us.  Us folks whose children are at risk.

Make plans now to be part of the 5,000 men, women and children who will unfurl flags from all around the globe in the streets of Salt Lake City.  This needs to be massive.  This will be massive.  Our children need for our voices to be loud, large & unmistakably clear.

 

It’s Official. Eleven year olds are now fair game in the Mormon Church

Mountain Top GirlThe Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is changing up programs for children and youth.  Their official announcement from December 14, 2018 can be found HERE.

New Policy For 11 Year Old Children

“Young women may receive their first temple recommend and young men may receive the Aaronic Priesthood and then their first temple recommend in January of the year they turn 12.”

“Ordinations and obtaining limited-use recommends will typically take place throughout January.”

This means that a child born on Dec 31 is to be interviewed within his/her first month of being 11.  It moves the assessment of ‘worthiness’ up by almost a full year from the past practices.

Here we have a mere child being taken behind closed doors with an untrained older man.  In June of 2018, the church openly declared that bishops are to ask the question “Do you live the law of chastity?”  That is a SEX question….with a child who is barely 11.

Can bishops ask “Do you masturbate?”  Absolutely!!!  Protect LDS Children has challenged the Church to condemn 29 Questions that are being used to prob our kids.  Masturbation is at the top of the list.  The church’s response?  “Bishops should not ask unnecessarily probing questions.”  What the hell does that mean?  It sends a loud and clear message that bishops can ask any question that they deem as ‘necessarily probing’.  Now they are free to do it to kids 1 year younger than they we allowed to previously.

THIS.IS.HORRENDOUS.

Dec 12, 2018:  Bishop Charged with Sex Abuse

Two days before the church announced that 11 year olds are now to be interrogated about sex, a Mormon bishop was charged with sex abuse of young people in his congregation.   How ironic that both these news stories appeared at the same time.

Much of what this bishop did is CONDONED by the LDS Church.  You can read the news stories at FOX13, 2KUTV, and KSL.

What Does the Mormon Church condone?

One night, after a church activity in August of 2017, Head drove the boy home. But when he got to the boy’s driveway, he “locked the vehicle doors and stated, ‘We have to figure this masturbation thing out. You’re not leaving until we figure this out,'” the charges state.

A bishop all alone with a young boy?  Bishops are totally sanctioned to be alone with the children and youth of their congregations!!!!

A bishop behind closed doors?  Absolutely.  Whether it be an office, a car, or a home, the church allows children to be taken behind any closed door by any bishop.

Bishops talking about masturbation with a minor?  You better believe it.  That’s the #1 question on the list of 29.  In many stakes and wards, the leaders have been told that masturbation specifically should be asked.

Another boy told police that Head would discuss sex “all the time,” according to the charges.

A bishop talking about sex all the time?  Bishops are mandated to interview the youth at least 2 times per year.  If he perceives the child needs help with a ‘problem,’ he has the purview to call the child into interviews as often as he deems necessary.

A decade after it happened, I found out that at age 12 my daughter was probed by the bishop, “Do you masturbate?”  I asked her if that question was ever posed again.  Like the boy who was abused by his bishop, her response was “All the time, dad.”

The Mormon Church provided this statement in response their bishop being charged with child sex abuse.

“Abuse of any kind cannot be tolerated in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”

My rebuttal to this statement:  LIARS!!!  Their policy of one-on-one interviews opens the way for abuse.  Asking sexual questions IS child abuse!!!  Thousands of witnesses provide a monstrous monument to the massive abuse the church has facilitated.  You can SEE and READ hundreds of those stories at protectldschildren.org.

News Conference

There was a time that I wondered, “Why do the Mormon apostles allow this?”

There was a time that I asked, “Why do Mormon bishops continue to take children all alone behind closed doors and interrogate them with sexual questions?”

There was a time that I pondered, “Why do the good members of the church tolerate this practice?”

I no longer care why the Mormon Church harms children.  At this point, I just care that children are in harm’s way.   It must stop.  It will stop.

On Thursday Dec 20, 2018, I will hold a news conference in Salt Lake City.  The plans for our next action will be publicly announced.

This will be a MAJOR action.  Bigger and more comprehensive than anything we have done before.  Our message will be expanded.  The audience will be extended.  Its impact will be a gigantic and historic hammer blow to protect ALL children.

To the Mormon Church

I never wanted to embarrass you.  I never wanted to shame you.  You were my church.

But now the time has come.

You, without apology, shame children into self-hatred.  It’s time you be shamed.  From the mountains tops.  All around the globe.

Banners are about to be unfurled, calling to all the world: 

PROTECT.OUR.CHILDREN.

Another Bishop Protecting Children

March Sign Worthiness2

A Recent Email

I wanted to send a heart felt thank you for standing up and putting your neck on the line regarding the Bishop interviews and sexual questions. I heard on NPR today you were excommunicated. I believe your fight is worth it. 

Earlier this year, my Father had just been called to be a Bishop.  I immediately knew I needed to talk about the Bishop interviews with my Father now that he was in this leadership role. I wasn’t sure how to bring it up. Then I read your story in the news, and sent it to my Father.

As a youth in the church, it is all fun and beautiful until you hit about 12, and yes, the Bishop interview threw me off.  Why was this man asking me these questions? I could never look that Bishop in the eyes again without feeling gross. I avoided him.

Flash forward to hearing about your story earlier this year. I sent a link to an article about you to my Father. And it opened the dialogue.  For the first time in my life I told my Father we needed to talk about this issue.  That I wanted to share my story with him. My father cried when I told him what happened to me. 

My Father, still a Bishop, has promised to not ask sexual questions to youth, and has promised to invite parents or church leaders to interviews.  I asked my Father to be an example of what the church could and should be.  I believe he will.

Thank you again for championing this important issue. For sacrificing your name on the church records. It has made a difference.

My response

Your message sent goose bumps down my arms and legs.   Still there.  Electrifying.  By speaking with your father you have provided a level of protection to the children of his ward and to him.  Amazing.  In my mind, I’m hugging you with love and admiration.

Would you mind if I publicly shared some of the details of this email?  Anonymously of course.  It’s such great news.

Warmest regards, Sam

Audiences

To date, actions have been directed at 3 audiences:

  1. The Q15.  I had hoped that as they were confronted with the massive damage their policies have done to thousands of children that they would change the policy in a substantive way.  The 15 chose to excommunicate rather than to mitigate.  I no longer plan to reach out to these men who turn a blind eye to their own victims.
  2. The Mormon members.  My hopes are that parents and local leaders will implement changes to protect their own children, their congregation and themselves.  The email above is one of many witnesses that Protect LDS Children has accomplished a great work here.  Many children are being protected from harmful interviews and potential predators.  However, most members have either not heard of our cause or have chosen to support the policy from SLC.  Going forward, I’ll continue to reach out to the fine members and good-hearted leaders in the Church.
  3. Non-members.  Our cause has now reached the ears of millions of people outside the Mormon Church.  They get it.  I have never talked to a non-Mormon who wasn’t disgusted.  Nor was anyone previously aware of what Mormons subject their children to.  Our efforts to reach this group has met with resounding success.  We will continue to spread the word in the community-at-large.

Action

You can make a difference!

Talk to your friends, your family, your local Mormon leadership.  If it’s not safe to discuss with members of the church, spread the news to every non-member you encounter.

One Child shamed to death, One Child pounds the bishop’s desk

Lions Surround Yourself

Story #278

Earlier this year, #278 submitted her personal story of heart-wrenching childhood shaming.  The story of this now mother, just became even more tragic.  Here’s her original submission to protectldschildren.org:

I grew up in an abusive home. I was raped for the first time when I was 7. I spent decades trying to convince my “leaders” that it wasn’t my fault. They insisted that I must have done something and I needed to repent (after all, what’s the point of a worthiness interview if you don’t get to spread some shame?). All the shaming just made me more vulnerable to the abuse. They could have helped me. They could have helped my abuser. Instead they dealt lasting damage to my sense of self and my sense of worth. I couldn’t get away from the abuse and the abuser until after my kids had also been damaged. We are now dealing with the 4th major mental health crisis to hit our family of 6. My daughter is in the hospital and has been for 3 months with no end in sight. It didn’t have to be this way.

Today, she sent me this message.  I cried.  My dear friend, I’m so sorry for your loss.

Since I wrote to you my daughter has died, shamed to death by the LDS church. It would please me to write something for her to be included in the pool of stories if that fits with your goal. She was transgender and the interviews about sex and sexuality contributed to her death. Again, thank you for doing this. We can’t save everyone, but I’ll still try.

#278’s story can also be read HERE.

Story #944

Some children mature before many adults do.  Here’s a 16 year old’s reaction to her probing bishop’s interview:  “A rage inside of me began. I stood up and unleashed holy hell on that piece of shit.”  I am so proud of this child, now an adult.  My rage didn’t surface until age 64.  I stood up and unleashed holy hell on a piece of crap Mormon policy.

I was born and raised in the Mormon Church along with my older sister and older brother. The brainwashing began for me at a very early age. Monthly testimony meetings and being led to believe that the bishop had a direct line of communication with the Lord molded my brain to believe that the Bishop knew everything and saw everything.

I was 16 when I had my “worthiness “ interview to see if I was “pure” enough to enter the temple. I was a virgin. I had never had any type of sexual experience. I had only kissed a boy that I had been best friends with for years. I had no knowledge of what an orgasm was either male or female.

I sat across from the bishop (I wish I could say that bastard’s name), he in his 3 piece slimy greasy suit and I dressed conservatively in a dress. The questions came immediately. Have I masturbated, have I participated in heavy petting, oral sex, have I had an orgasm.

As each question was asked, the more confused, disgusted, horrified, sick, humiliated, exposed, vulnerable, basically every emotion a young woman would feel as she is being raped, I felt!!! I told the bishop that I didn’t know what an orgasm was. He proceeded to tell me in graphic detail. He also described in detail how it feels to him and how it feels to his wife when they have sex and have an orgasm as well.

I knew that what he was doing to me was wrong. My personal relationship with the Lord and the Lord as I knew him to be would not do this to me. A rage inside of me began. I stood up and unleashed holy hell on that piece of shit. I slammed both fists on his desk and told him to f__k off and that I would never ever return to this evil church again.

#944’s full story can be read HERE.

June 10th–Stand Up & Speak Up

Stand Up & Speak UP

These powerful words of encouragement were recently pronounced by Russell M. Nelson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

On Sunday June 10th, we will have the opportunity to stand up and speak up.  It’s National Children’s Day.

Button June 10

Protect Our Children With A Button

For National Children’s Day we are asking every supporter of Protect The Children to wear a button on June 10th.

Wherever you go, wear one.  Whether to church or other activities.  Have conversations!  Invite those you talk to to learn more at ProtectLDSChildren.org.

Our button action will bring awareness to the plight of LDS children who are being subjected to grooming and shaming behaviors all alone, behind closed doors with Mormon leaders.  Conversations will be started.  Awareness raised.  Even without a discussion, people will take notice.

Of course, we hope that many many people will wear their buttons to an LDS Church service.  Buttons in our buildings will make a big impact, whether you are an active member or haven’t been to church in years.

If you are not comfortable in a Mormon church, wear the button to another church, to the park, at the store or any activity outside of your front door.

We put up a petition—tens of thousands signed. Then a march—another thousand joined the line.  Now a button–thousands more will participate this time!!  We ARE changing the church’s interview paradigm.

Please post and share photos of you wearing your buttons!

How to Get a Button

  1. Make one of your own design.  People were super creative with signs at the march.
  2. Download the artwork and print your own.
  3. Order 1 Button.
  4. Order a 5 Button Pack.
  5. Order a 20 Button Pack.
  6. Order a Bumper Sticker.
  7. See all four options HERE.

ButtonsNote: Buttons are available with the cuddling lion or the roaring lion — if you want the roaring lion, please indicate it in the notes on your order.  Otherwise, we’ll send the cuddling version. Thank you!

Facebook Event

Please go to the Event Page and indicate your plans to participate.

Share the Event everywhere!   

Let’s Make This Big!!!