My friends in the LDS church. Please do not be offended by this post I make tonight. I am angry at the church, not at you. If you do not want to read about my anger, I totally understand you not reading further, and even hiding this particular post, but I hope that you will continue to be my friend either way. I love you all.
I do feel like I need to voice my concerns, but only here on my page. I will not post about this on your page. I respect your beliefs. I hope you do not unfriend me for my anger this night. It would be my loss if you unfriended me, but alas, I can't stand by and say nothing, so I say it on my own page.
When I saw this news article pop up today, I wanted to scream. No, I don't have any problem with the church wanting it's members to be more specific about what it's members call the church by. My anger is placed on where the church has placed its priorities, and for what may very well be the real purpose of this announcement today. Read to the end, if you want to understand, but again, be aware, I am not holding back much so if you don't want to read about my anger and disappointment, I understand. In that case, you may not want to read further.
There is a movement called Protect LDS Children, started by Sam Young. Sam Young is a Bishop (without a congregation at this time) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. His cause is two fold. 1) About stopping the one on one interviews with Bishops and children behind closed doors (not stopping the interviews, but stopping the one Bishop and one child behind closed doors), and 2) also stopping explicit and sex related questions from being asked during those interviews.
This cause started after Sam became aware of the many stories of children being abused by bishops during these interviews. I know, Sam knows, and everyone knows that the majority of Bishops are good men, just trying to do what their calling dictates. Nevertheless, Sam now has over 3,000 accounts of sexual abuse that happened during these interviews documented, and those are only from the people willing to speak up. He delivered these stories to the Apostles via a representative of the church during their march some months back. I know whenever we have heard about sexual abuses happening in other churches, we will all say something should be done. We should be saying the same thing when it's on our own doorstep. It's not statistically a small number when it is your kid, and if the only people who ever stand up in defense of the victims are the victims and the victims' family, then they will always be in the minority, and nothing will ever change. This is a problem, and we do need to do something about it.
Some people will say that Sam Young just wants attention. They say, "Why didn't he just go through the proper channels?" You need to do your homework. You've entered this story at something like chapter 48, not chapter 1. He did. He went to his Bishop. He went to his Stake President. He tried for a very long time to make change within the church, through the proper channels. He basically got told to be quiet. With nothing in place to protect the children after going through all the proper channels, he refused to be quiet, and has gotten noisier and noisier to try to bring attention to the matter. His goal has been to get support so that perhaps the leadership of the church would recognize that it really is a problem that needs to be addressed. All along, he has been meeting with his Bishop and Stake president trying to work through the proper channels, even upto less than a month ago. Sam continued trying to work through the proper channels even after the march some months ago, and just before he started the hunger strike. He has spent more than half of his retirement money on this cause, and while he is now taking donations, those donations just go back to the cause and have no where near paid back what he has already spent out of his own pocket. His wife supports him so strongly in this cause, that she has said if they loose their house and have to live in a tent for their retirement, so be it. If the church leadership made the needed changes today, he would go eat, and go home. It's not about attention, it's about change to protect children.
There is also the harm that well meaning Bishops can cause when asking questions involving chastity of a child that has been sexually assaulted. When this situation happens, Bishops that have never had a day of training in psychology should not be venturing forth for more information from a child in this situation. I understand that Bishops are supposed to be lead by the spirit, but would you be okay with a Bishop performing brain surgery on your child because "he is lead by the spirit", of would you rather he call an ambulance, and have a professional treat your child? This would be a question I would love to hear the prophet of the this church answer, because he is an experienced medical doctor. The psychological state of a child who has had a sexual encounter is a fragile situation, and not something an untrained person should go poking around in with a crowbar.
Some say, the church did fix the problem with the policy change at last General Conference. Here is the problem. All that was changed, is that children can request that a parent be present. It is still NOT REQUIRED that a parent or other adult be present. Children don't meet with their bishop expecting to be sexually abused or asked explicit questions, and pedophiles who have managed to work themselves into those positions through deception, are certainly not going to encourage children to have a parent in the meeting... so this solves very little. ***Again, I do not think that all bishops are pedophiles, most are wonderful men, but it does happen*** I would have felt like it was a more serious step in the right direction, if they had made it mandatory, not simply an option.
Some might think it is too much to ask for the church to change policy. The church has changed a long list of policies in just this last 6 months. What happened to home teachers and visiting teachers, just to name a few? You would be surprised how many policies and procedures have actually changed in the last 20 years, and going beyond, back to the very beginning. Just about every year, we see some policy changes. Is it too much to ask to change how these interviews are done? It was not too much to ask to change how some of the proceedings happen in the temple, to make adults feel safer. Why can't we change how these Bishop interviews are done, to keep our children safer?
Once, when I had an interview, I remember being asked about chastity. I was an adult at the time. The person doing the interview only asked if I was living the law, and told me I only had to think on it, and decide for myself, and that was enough. If the church really feels they need to ask the question of Chastity of 12 year olds, maybe if they get a questionable response, that's where the questioning ends, and then we bring the parents in, or a licensed professional? Because you know, our kids are important right? And again, we wouldn't want our Bishop performing brain surgery on our kids if he found a problem, just relying on the spirit, instead of calling the ambulance when there was infact, plenty of time to do so, right?
So what am I so angry about today??? What does all this have to do with the announcement today?
I am angry because of two things. 1) While Sam Young has been fasting for something like 18 days now, has invited each Apostle to visit with him and discuss the matter (remember, after trying every other option... I can testify to this, because I have been following him), has shared more than 3,000 stories from victims, and been doing his best to bring attention to the matter.... the church has ignored him. And today... they announce that the Lord impressed upon the Prophet how important it is for people to refer to the church as "The Church Of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints"... because this is the most pressing matter? This is the priority of the church? What people call the church and it's members? Not the starving man across the street, standing up for thousands of abused children, some now adults. This starving man standing up for LDS youth who have committed suicide because of the end results of these interviews? This is the priority? Really? He is across the street, pounding the pavement, much like Samuel on the Wall.... and the church ignores him and the victims, both on their page, and in this hugely arrogant way today, by posting how important it is to make sure you call the church by the right name, while completely ignoring Sam Young and all the victims.
Can you imagine Jesus Christ, if he was on the earth today, ignoring Sam Young and those victims, choosing instead to talk about the name of his church? What do you think Jesus Christ's priorities would have been? If you are not sure, you should read the New Testament tonight for a while. Not because it is not the Book of Mormon, I am not trying to disrespect that book, but instead because it is an account of his life on earth, and ministry, pre-resurrection. It represents his day to day. I think even if Jesus Christ did not totally agree with everything about Sam Young's cause, he would talk to him.... he would teach, and he would heal. He would not be worried about the lawyers, or about the marketing strategists. He was the man who turned over the money changer's tables on the temple grounds. He is the one who talked with the sinners, the poor. He didn't ignore them. He saw the children as precious, and had many things to say about anyone who would cause them harm. He would not care about statistically small numbers, because every child is precious. I have no doubt if he was here today, he would be standing on the other side of the street with Sam Young. I like to believe that if President Hinkley were alive today, he would have visited and talked to Sam Young, again, even if he didn't completely agree with him or me... I think he would talk to him.. I can't speak for him, but I really think he would.
What the really ugly, dirty little secret about the LDS Church's announcement today:
Yesterday, when searching LDS, Mormon, etc... ProtectLDSChildren would come up on the first page of searches. It's been this way for a while. Today, ProtectLDSChildren is buried to atleast the 2nd page. What was the revelation/announcement about today? The NAME of the church. And now, as a result, ProtectLDSChild is buried in the search results. If you were wondering why this was such a big deal today... just an announcement about what members should call the church, and yet it stayed on many news sites in Utah, front page all day long, well, there is your answer. To bury the victims pleas. To quiet down Sam Young in the search engines and hopefully on social media. To try to make him invisible. It seems just a bit coincidental.
Some members of the LDS church that know me well, know I have been transitioning away from the church for quite a while. This is not the only cause, but today after seeing this, I decided. I am having my name removed from the records of the church. This church is not lead by the man I read about in the New Testament. There are many good people in the church, and I respect you, and I don't expect you to follow me, and I don't expect you to agree with me. I don't ask you to leave because of my feelings, and I will not talk to you of this directly, unless you want to discuss it. I will respect you. I won't pound the sand with talking bad about the church everyday, so I hope you will not unfriend me. I would love to see these Apostles act like disciples of that man I read about in the New Testament. But I can't have my name associated in any way with works like this. No, it's not JUST this... it's one more thing on top of a pile, but it was enough today.
“Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matt. 7:15–20.)
“Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matt. 7:15–20.)
I love you all my friends. I hope to see you tomorrow.