Another LDS Stake Takes Steps Towards Comprehensive Protection for Their Children

British Flag 2Adventures in LDS Safeguarding in the UK – Some great news!

By Peter Bleakley

Safeguarding children from sexual abuse in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is absolutely the last thing I want to even think about, never mind get involved in proactive advocating for.  It is disturbing, depressing and it should definitely be someone else’s responsibility.  But the tragic reality is that the people who should be taking responsibility for it too often are not, specially at the top of our global organisation, so it has by default become the job of grass roots members to do the Mormon thing and take action where there is a need.

As I grew up in the Church the first I became aware of this being an issue was when a relative of mine in Ireland was supporting a victim of abuse and having their testimony and trust in the priesthood leadership rocked by the dreadful failures in how they responded to the situation.  It was my first glimpse of all the key ingredients of the horrors that ripple out from LDS child abuse scandals still today – totally untrained local clergy not knowing how to be professional, blaming the victim, letting their perpetrator buddies in the old boys’ network off lightly, demanding that everyone forgive and forget quickly and not cause a public scandal or prosecution, and if the victim’s families refuse to play that game turning the social and legal resources of the Church and its community against them.

Some local leaders do a far better job than that, but not enough of them.  There have been some baby steps of improvement in the Church’s global practices, but not enough of them.

Nothing focuses your mind on the urgent need to revolutionise our safeguarding practices like having a case of child abuse in your own family or ward, or in my case moving into a ward still reeling from the aftermath of a serving bishop being convicted and imprisoned for child abuse-related offenses as we did a few years ago.  It strips away all the comforting buffer zones of wishful thinking and complacency and tears open a wound that is very hard to heal for everyone.  Every parent questions why they sent their children into one-to-one interviews with that person with a mandate to discuss the most private details of their sexual selves and experiences.  They agonise over what might have been, or actually was.  The abuser’s line managers and fellow leaders question how it was they felt spiritual witnesses confirming that they should sustain and ordain that person to a position of authority and responsibility when they were absolutely the last person God would have wanted or needed in that position of trust.  The families of the perpetrator and victims are embarrassed and traumatized.  Nothing will ever be the same again.

And then hopefully the inevitable next question is, how on earth did we as responsible adults who know that child abuse happens and have professional safeguarding training in many of our workplaces let this happen on our watch?  In our sphere of influence?  In an organisation where children should be the most safe and protected they can possibly be?  How is it possible in the Church of the Christ who valued children above all others?  Who talked about putting millstones around necks and drowning anyone hurting them?  How is it that instead of prioritising the safety of children we created written policies and cultural norms that prioritised the public reputation of the institution, the public reputation of the adult abusers, and the damaging opinions of General Authorities speaking from their out-dated and ignorant social conditioning in isolated Midwestern American religious communities instead of professional expertise and basic common sense?

Soon after that I became aware of Sam Young’s heroic campaign to Protect LDS Children that has evolved into Protect Every Child, and I started researching the Church’s official policies and guidelines regarding safeguarding.  I discovered policy statements and official declarations of an ethos of safeguarding on the Church website that were not just inaccurate wishful thinking, they were objectively delusional.  They were claiming that the LDS Church is not aware of anyone that has better safeguarding procedures than ours when in fact in the community of churches ours are among the absolute worst, and people have been telling them this for years.  They have finally had the shame to seriously edit their press release and remove most of the crazy claims about a ‘gold standard’, but still it seems no one with any professional safeguarding expertise has had anything to do with formulating either their propaganda or procedures.

I also discovered that the Church already practices several ingredients of our wish list in Australia.  There it is a legal requirement for anyone working with young people to have a regular background check and a card confirming this or all hell breaks loose, so the LDS Church is very careful to ensure this is followed.  People cannot be called or remain in a position working with young people if that legally mandated scrutiny lapses. They still have one to one interviews I expect, but it is a glimpse of how things could be everywhere.

My anger about the negligence became personal as I reflected on the impact throughout my adolescence and young adulthood of constant ‘worthiness’ interviews and the uninformed and unhealthy rhetoric, expectations and mind games played with LDS young regarding all things sexual.  We are fed into a mincer that piles on guilt about totally normal sexual feelings and explorations from before some of us even begin puberty.  My priesthood interviewers were unfailingly kind and exemplary role models and dear friends to whom I am profoundly grateful for their years of service contributing to my peers and I having a fantastic youth in many ways, but as they were instructed to I was regularly asked about whether I masturbated.  Like most young Mormons I soon began to learn to lie and declare I was ‘morally clean’ when I knew by those criteria I was not.

I felt guilt ridden and ‘unworthy’ pretty much all the time but my embarrassment was so deep I couldn’t bear to talk about it to anyone and only risked confessing twice at points when I was pretty sure the repercussions would be minimal.   As so many Latter-Day Saints and their therapists have described as they have reflected on this, our consciences kind of split into our public religious life and our secret shame.  Now as I reflect from an adult perspective, instead of feeling bad about that I am incredibly relieved that I protected my privacy.  I now understand that that whole process of intrusive scrutiny of children was completely unethical and psychologically unhealthy.

Young people put into a situation of an inherently abusive power relationship will have something click in their brains to protect themselves from dangerous intrusion and instinctively lie to protect their psyche from a clear and present threat.  Of course the religious indoctrination is so intense that, believing they are speaking to a man representing actual God with a magical ‘power of discernment’ to read their minds who should be answered honestly as if they are Jesus Christ because religiously there is no difference at all, many young people will not have the strength to protect their privacy by lying or simply calling their bluff and refusing to disclose such private information.  They will admit to their terrible crimes that according to the ‘For the Strength of Youth’ booklet and the teachings of the LDS prophets are all, ALL of them, even having sexual thoughts, “second only to murder.”

I would love to go back in time to my 12 year old self, pat me on the head and say “Quit feeling guilty – you are absolutely doing the right thing.  No one should be asking you about this, you are a normal healthy kid protecting your dignity and privacy.  These well-meaning but totally untrained men are not Gods, and you are frankly a proper goody two shoes.  Drugs are still bad, but definitely go to some live music concerts while these bands you love are at their peak.  Satan didn’t write their music and in the 2010’s no one even talks about that any more in the Church. Or the occult paranoia and Ouija Boards…. but I’ll let you find out about what Joseph Smith was up to with all that when you’re older and not spoil the fun.”

Most of our young people under the regime of regular harassment just go inactive and never come back.  Jana Reiss’ recent research has confirmed what we all know from our own wards, that the young teenage years are when the LDS Church loses most of the 80% of its young people globally who leave by their mid-twenties.  Why are we surprised when this is what we do to them?!  Those that stay and are honest are often fed into a totally unprofessional psychodrama of shaming Church discipline with disfellowshipment, young men having to very obviously say “No” when asked to pass the sacrament, not taking the sacrament in front of your family and entire ward, and even worse these days in the hysterical paranoia about pornography coming out of LDS communities in Deseret, being labelled an “Addict” completely inaccurately, and even being fed into the Addiction Recovery Program.  Meanwhile those of us unwilling or unaware that we should be confessing these things to our bishop look squeaky clean and progress unscrutinised through our young Church lives.

The whole thing is a mess of injustice, trauma, secrets and lies in stark contrast to what are meant to be our religious ideals and values.  I had pretty close to the mildest experience possible for a youth in the Church, beaten only by those lucky few who won leadership roulette and were never once asked about specific sexual things in interviews because their leaders were in a different branch of the random tree of leadership awareness and formative experience and passing on different norms through their lines of non-training.  But it was still far more of a burden of guilt, confusion and worry than I should ever have had to carry.

As a teacher in a boys’ secondary school with experience of delivering sex and contraception education and receiving the professional child safeguarding training that is now the norm in schools, professions and most voluntary and religious settings and organisations, I am not shy about speaking about these matters.  When Sam Young asked through social media if any supporters of the Protect Every Child campaign and petition in the UK were willing be interviewed by a journalist who had approached him, I and two others gladly volunteered and to our amazement found ourselves with a 10-15 minute slot on the BBC’s flagship news channel daily chat program ‘The Victoria Derbyshire Show’ and headed to the iconic Broadcasting House in London.  Our interviewer was superb and we were able to share our concerns in a respectful but clear way, particularly making the points that these interviews actually introduce young Mormons to the sexual practices they are meant to be deterring in unhealthy ways, and that as a body of millions of lay clergy the adult men and women running our congregations understand and practice modern safeguarding at work, but tragically too often throw it all in the bin as soon as we walk through the chapel doors.

The Church recently released a slightly interactive safeguarding training film that it will now require all members working with young people to review regularly.  This tipped me over the edge into full rage.  It claims to have been produced in collaboration with professionals, but I cannot see a shred of evidence for that anywhere in its content.  Even calling it safeguarding training is a deception.  It simply isn’t.  It’s one point repeated over and over is basically that no adult should be alone with a young person.  But it completely ignores the compulsory worthiness interviews where they often are.  They might as well not exist.  It doesn’t even take the opportunity to remind everyone of the recent change that a young person (not their parent…) can request a second adult in the room.  That’s more than negligence, it’s intentional.  And the thought that this is replacing the much more thorough professional training provided by Boy Scouts of America that at least some LDS youth leaders in the USA used to get is even more perplexing.

Real professional standard safeguarding training teaches you that an adult should never be alone with a child even once in any circumstances ever unless you are a professionally trained and supervised counsellor.  It teaches you what you must and must not do and say if a child discloses abuse to you so that you do not ask leading questions or screw up a criminal investigation.  It teaches you who your safeguarding line managers are, and who to talk to above them if you are not satisfied with their response.  It teaches you how to report suspicions you have about potential abuse to the right trained people in your organisation.  It teaches you exactly what physical and emotional signs to look for in a victim of abuse.  It teaches you how to speak to that child and reassure them as the adult they have chosen to trust, and what to do to ensure their immediate safety.  This stuff is safeguarding 101.  None of it is in the new official ‘training’ that isn’t training. This is why we must use actual professionals to deliver training in our stakes and wards until the in-house training matches basic professional standards.

In response to the scandals in our area, the UK government’s enquiries into safeguarding and abuse cover-ups in the Catholic and Anglican Churches, and the Protect Every Child campaign all shining a light on the matter, plus basic common sense, my stake leadership have been fantastic.  They decided that a much more robust protocol was required to fulfill the Church’s avowed intent, repeated in a statement at the end of our TV appearance by the Europe Area Presidency, to always be seeking ways to improve our safeguarding.  They consulted with several stake members who have high level professional responsibility for delivering safeguarding training in their professional careers.  They consulted with a Welsh member of the Church who is involved in safeguarding policies and training with the United Nations, who also delivered some excellent training for the young people and adults in our stake about the ethos and principles of a safeguarding community.  They even graciously gave me the opportunity to look over the draft policy and make recommendations.

After also consulting with the bishops to get their feedback and approval, our new stake child safeguarding policy has been released, and it is a doozy.  It has 99% of the wishlist of anyone professionally competent regarding safeguarding and the Protect Every Child campaign.  It outlines in detail what the different forms of physical, emotional and sexual child abuse are.  It describes an ethos of collective responsibility and vigilance.  It requires that every member of the Stake working with children and teenagers will have regular enhanced police background checks using the national DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) system paid for with stake funds if needed.  We will have regular professional safeguarding training that is provided annually for free to voluntary organisations by local councils in our area, (and hopefully available in all areas of the UK), that will match the training we get as school teachers.

The most thorny issue is the 6-monthly one to one interviews starting age 11 now.   The policy states that the expected norm will be that there will always be a second adult in the room unless the young person is really insistent, after we try to persuade them otherwise, that they want to be seen alone.  If that is the case it will be a short interview with the door ajar and an adult outside.  This is spectacular progress but of course that 1%, or maybe it should be regarded as much more than 1%, of lone interviews is still an issue.  It endangers the interviewer as much as the child because there is no witness at all of what was actually said in that interview.  If an accusation is made about that the interviewer has no evidence for a legal defense at all and it is all down to who believes who in any ensuing criminal investigation.  I hope the individual leaders will recognise this and simply refuse to put themselves, their families and their careers at such risk.

But I’m not about to rain on this particular parade!  As we all get used to ministering this way the last areas of concern will I expect quickly be abandoned.  My stake has not just stepped up but taken a quantum leap towards gold standard, best practice child safeguarding. And the BIG lesson to learn is how EASY it is to do.  You just decide to do it.  All the resources and systems are there to pick up and use in the background checks and free, or more than affordable, professional safeguarding training systems out there in our communities.   Most stakes in the developed world at least are teaming with professionals who receive or even deliver state of the art safeguarding training.  We know that a proper safeguarding system looks like.  We have a lot of in-house expertise.  Our ward Relief Society president trains community carers and on one ‘5th Sunday’ delivered state of the art safeguarding training for all the adults in our ward in the Sunday School slot.  Simples.  Where there is a will there is a way.

Good ideas spread fast.  My Stake President is happy to share the new policy with other Stake Presidents if they request it – no point reinventing the wheel.  But it really isn’t that complicated to reinvent the wheel if you have to.   We can fulfill the mandate the Church has given us all to constantly improve our safeguarding, and learn from each others’ innovations and experiences.  And hopefully one day soon the international ethos and policy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints will be to ensure EVERY child in our Church has the best possible safeguarding protection available anywhere, in every ward and branch, rather than the minimum legally required by their local secular governments.  Then we will know that their priority really is the safety and well-being of every child of Heavenly Parents who love them equally, not their institutional legal defense when things inevitably go horribly, and avoidably,­­­­­­ wrong.

Powerhouse Panel of Keynotes

Powerhouse Lineup

I am excited to announce the keynote speakers for the March to End Child Abuse on Oct 5th.

We will have the honor of marching with Jan Broberg, Tanya Brown and Matthew Sandusky.  In turn, they will have the honor of marching with thousands of you.

The members of our powerhouse panel are nationally recognized child advocates.  They are pursuing the very same goal as Protect Every Child:  A world free from child abuse.

Don’t miss this historic moment in history.  The very first national march to stand up for the human right of every child to grow up safe from abuse.   As of this moment 1,048 have registered, coming from 27 states and 9 countries.  This truly is a ‘national’ event that will be epic in the annals of protecting our children.   Please register HERE.

Matthew Sandusky

Watch Matthew’s worldwide TV exclusive on Oprah Prime.

Matthew Sandusky  was a victim of childhood sexual abuse from the age of 8 to 17 at the hands of his adopted father, Jerry Sandusky.  Matthew has turned his traumatic personal experience into a mechanism to prevent childhood sexual abuse and help other survivors heal.

Matthew raises awareness around child sexual abuse in local communities, supports the life-saving work of children’s advocacy and sexual assault treatment centers, and advocates for legislative changes.  Matthew also works with researchers, clinicians, the media, politicians, social workers and child protection professionals to raise awareness and improve the quality and availability of services to survivors nationwide.

In addition to his advocacy work, Matthew is committed to empowering and educating children to use their voices and help protect them against abuse.  He is working with other advocates to implement an in-school curriculum to empower children to use their voices as a first line of defense, along with parents and teachers.

Jan Broberg

Earlier this year, Jan Broberg became known as the subject of a movie chronicling her horrific kidnapping at the age of 12, and again at 14, by a trusted family friend.  The documentary film Abducted in Plain Sight was released by Netfix and is still available for viewing.  It recounts a jaw dropping tale of manipulation, brainwashing, kidnapping and child sex abuse.  All at the hands of a man who successfully groomed young Jan, her parents and the entire church community for his malevolent purposes.

Her triumph over those early, unspeakable events was instrumental in her speaking out to “end the abuse of every child on the planet. ”  She views this cause as a primary driving force in her life going forward.

Jan is an actress, singer and dancer who has appeared in more than two dozen feature films, numerous television series, and countless stage productions.

Tanya Brown

Tanya Brown is no stranger to adversity or trauma.  Her family name was seared into the national consciousness at the time of the O.J. Simpson trial for the murder of Tanya’s sister, Nicole Brown Simpson.  With the loss of Nicole, she has faced overwhelming life challenges but used these obstacles to ultimately improve the quality of her life.  Tanya became a domestic violence advocate, doing speaking engagements and training that would inform people about the horror of abuse at home.

Ten years after the loss of her sister, Tanya suffered a mental breakdown; and as a result, she has made a personal commitment to speak on the issues of how to overcome adversity and promote HEALTHY mental health for overall well-being.


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 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.


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 . 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.


Adam & the Bishop


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

His story is #4 on  and #1054 on  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




**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.

Dear Bishops, this could happen to you!

GavelToday, a lawsuit was filed accusing President Russell M. Nelson’s daughter and son-in-law of child sex abuse.  The alleged abuse occurred 32 years ago.

I don’t have an opinion on whether or not the allegations are true.  What I know is that the charges have been made in full public view.  The defense will be grueling and expensive.   No matter what, reputations will be tarnished.  If a verdict is rendered in favor of the plaintiffs, reputations will be destroyed.

You can read about the suit in the Deseret News, the Salt Lake Tribune or watch it on Fox News.  The actual lawsuit filing can be found HERE.

So bishops, what does this have to do with you?  We are in a different era than in 1986.  Back then, no cell phones (mini-recorders), little concern with adults alone with children, no #metoo movement, certainly no #mormonmetoo movement.

All that has changed.  If someone accuses you of abuse of any kind while you were behind that closed door, all alone with a child & talking about sex, YOU WILL HAVE NO DEFENSE.  Our society doesn’t have sympathy for an adult who should have known better.  They will sympathize with the child every time.

Can you afford to lose your reputation?

Can you afford to defend against a criminal charge?

A stake in my home town of Houston recently instructed its bishops:  “Conduct every interview under the assumption that you are being recorded.”  Wise counsel.

Better counsel:  No one-on-one interviews, no sexual questions ever.


Creating a Perfect Paradise for Pedophiles


SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) published an article describing  Mormon interview practices with children an “invitation for sexual abuse.”   The Salt Lake Tribune followed up with their article entitled “Sexual abuse survivors group of ‘Spotlight’ fame calls on Mormon church to change interview system.”

The LDS Church, by way of the Deseret News, responded with this editorial:  “In our opinion:  Mormon bishop interviews are not ‘invitations’ for abuse.”

So, which is it?

Experts say—Invitation for abuse

Church says—Not an Invitation for abuse

Well, well.  Let’s consider it from a pedophile’s perspective.  What conditions would be conducive to a Perfect Paradise for Pedophiles?

Check markNo fingerprint check.

Check markNo background check.

Check markUnfettered access to children.

Check markInstitutional requirement that all children meet one-on-one with a man behind closed doors.

Check markInstitutional requirement that no parent or other adult be in the same room when a child is all alone with an adult male leader.

Check markInstitutional acceptance, expectation, and instruction that sexual matters be discussed between a child and a grown man behind-closed-doors.

Check markNo restrictions whatsoever on how sexually graphic one-on-one interviews with children can be.

Every single one of those Check mark marks applies to the Mormon Church….ONLY the Mormon church.  No other reputable institution in America condones this behavior.  In fact, every other institution in our country condemns this conduct.

What do YOU think?

Is the interview protocol for children in my church an invitation for abuse?  Or simply a sacred opportunity for a child and his or her spiritual male leader?

Pedophiles In Our Midst

Jan 2018:   Former Bishop charged with sex abuse.

Jan 2018:  Stake Executive Secretary Arrested for Groping Teenager

Dec 2017:  American Fork LDS bishop counselor arrested for reported sexual abuse

Sep 2017:  Mormon bishop took his own life during sex abuse trial

Aug 2017:  Mormon high priest admits 21 child sex offences

Jul 2017:   Former LDS bishop avoids arrest warrant by fleeing to Venezuela

Jun 2017:  Former LDS bishop arrested for alleged child sex abuse

Apr 2017:  Outcry as Utah judge calls Mormon bishop who raped a girl a ‘good man’

Jan 2014:  Former LDS bishop arrested on count of luring minor for sexual exploitation

Nov 2013:  Ex-Mormon bishop pleads guilty in sexual assaults of two teens

Nov 2011:  Former LDS Bishop sentenced in sex abuse case

Dec 2008:  Former LDS bishop sentenced for molesting young girls

Feb 2005:  Former Stake President sentenced for sex soliciting a 14 year old

May 1999:  Mormons caught up in wave of pedophile accusations

Come on, my Mormon friends.  This has to make your stomach turn.  These pedophiles were Bishops and Stake Presidents!!!  Never…ever…allow your child to go behind closed doors with an any adult, even at church.

Protect The Children NOW

In 2018, this monstrous practice WILL be struck down….as we all join our efforts together.

  1. Add your name to 10,000 thundering voices
  2. Share your story on  This is important.  We now have 66 stories of inappropriate interviews and the harms they have caused.  Our goal is 1,000.  The documentation of this wide swath of damage will draw strong media coverage.
  3. Stay tuned…..

Additional Resources

Get Our Bishops Out of the Sex Interview Business–They Need Our Support

Supreme Court

West Virginia Supreme Court says Mormon Multi-State Sex Abuse Lawsuit Can Move Forward

For the story and a link to the supreme court ruling click HERE.

Up to today, my major concern with masturbation interviews has been the harm done to our children.

However, the bishops are also in the cross hairs of possible sexual abuse lawsuits.  I have several friends who serve selflessly in this calling.  It’s time consuming, often thankless, and sometimes downright depressing.

Then add to their burden the liability of posing sexual questions to a child.  Forty years ago, the risk of being hauled into court may have been low.  Today, being alone with a child behind closed doors is frowned on by society.  To ask the child about sex is unacceptable.  The risk of lawsuits is no longer minimal.

Take Action

  1. Protect your children from private masturbation interviews.
  2. Protect your bishops from the frightening legal risks of inappropriate interview practices.  Don’t allow them to perform private interviews on your children.   Never allow them to probe into sex.

Sam’s Promise

  1. I am going to write a letter to my stake president requesting that changes be made to the youth interview process.  At present, there are 23 members of the stake willing to sign the letter, 14 anonymously and 9 openly.
  2. Compose a petition where anyone around the world can register their request for changes.


Until the Register for Interview Changes is available, you may want to add your name to the Common Consent Register.  435 members have chosen to actively participate in the Law of Common Consent.  I urge you to consider it, too.  For details, click HERE