High on a Mountain Top–Two Weeks to Go

 

Cindy Wells Hayes-TimpGreetings my FRIENDS!

Many adult survivors of child sexual abuse have written to Protect Every Child (PEC) expressing gratitude for all that you are doing through your activism, to help change the world.  You are lifting up the rocks and shining a bright light upon the darkness of child sexual abuse.

On their behalf, and on behalf of today and tomorrow’s children…THANK YOU!!!

A week ago we announced the Fall Color Tour of Protect Every Child banners, posters and signs. With the march now being only 14 days away, I would like that day to dawn BRIGHTLY.  I know it will.  The October 5th Children’s March will be triumphant in part because it was preceded by 9 months of climbing mountains, hills and driveways to save children.

A week ago, we requested that supporters invite a friend to unfurl a banner. Whether or not you go to your mountain together, on the same date, or separately, your participation and publication of your efforts will continue to help raise public awareness.

A week ago we expanded the definition of a mountain to include any institution that had the power to harm or to help a child, the power to hurt or to heal a child. The difference, of course, lies in the human element. What safety policies does the institution have, and are the people who run that institution following the policies?  The first place to start, of course, is with having proper institutional child safety policies for people to follow within every organization that deals directly with children. 

Months ago, Protect Every Child was perceived by some as a Utah movement.  Perhaps even a Texan movement because of where I am from.  Some perceived PEC as being a Mormon movement, because it was born out of the Protect LDS Children movement. The truth is that Protect Every Child is an ecumenical movement whose influence is felt across the country and around the world.

Protect Every Child is now a SIXTEEN-member coalition working to change things for our most vulnerable.  Our coalition partners are actively engaged in prevention, training, recovery, research, justice and legislation surrounding the issues of child abuse.  They all support the mission of PEC and the historic March to End Child Abuse.

So far in America, our banner has flown in the states of Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Maryland, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming , and Washington D.C. 

Across the world, our banner has been raised in the continents of Africa, Europe and North America. In Africa, our banner has been raised atop Mount Kilimanjaro.  In Europe, our banner has been raised in England, Norway, Scotland and Switzerland.  In the continent of North America, our banner has been raised in Belize, Mexico, Canada and the United States. 

The Spirit of Determination to Protect the Children is awakening around the world! On the same day that Protect Every Child will be marching in Salt Lake City, the Catholics will be staging a protest at the Vatican and ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses will be marching in multiple locations on multiple continents.

During the next two weeks, I would like to challenge PEC supporters to fly their banners and publish our message far and wide.  Let’s plant A Banner In Every U.S. State and A Banner On Every Continent and Fly it Among As Many People Of Different Faiths As Possible. We want the world to understand that child abuse has no boundaries, and that it’s rampant spread must be ended. That is our Mission Impossible. That is the Impossible Dream we dream.

Thank you for helping us spread the word through your participation in the Fall Color Tour to Protect Every Child.  We are excited with the momentum that is building as the date for The Children’s March draws ever nearer.  None of this could be possible without your help.  Like each of the beautiful autumn leaves on every tree, like each tree in every forest, our united one-by-one efforts are making a Mighty Unity of One Voice, roaring out to Protect The Children. We need each of you. We love and appreciate all of you. We thank every one of you.

Fly those banners high!  See you October 5th in Salt Lake City.

Resources

Video to share explaining Why We March

Register for the march HERE.

Supporting Organizations

Sign the Petition

P.S.  If we’ve missed your banner unfurling, let us know, and we’d be thrilled to add your story to our website.

 

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