I was moved to tears watching the live stream of the Protect LDS Children Rally in Salt Lake City this past Friday. Well over 1,000 LDS members and their supporters turned out to ask their church leaders to: Stop closed door interviews. Stop Asking Sexual Questions.
The rally, organized by Sam Young was held after members received no response in the last few years from Church leaders about their concerns, despite hundreds of stories of sexual abuse and sexual shaming in these interviews surfacing. At the rally one father reported that his young son had committed suicide and in his journal and suicide note cited that what had taken place in his LDS Bishop interviews was the reason. Other interviews were equally heart-breaking. Sam Young has received over 3,000 stories in just the past couple of months – only the tip of the ice-berg.
The marchers brought with them a petition signed by 55,000 and copies of a book of approximately 500 “Sacred Stories” submitted by those who have been harmed by Church members and practices, to deliver to their church leaders and apostles.
A request had been made, in advance, to LDS leaders to receive the petition and the stories. Only two young public relations employees were made available by the church to receive the petition and the stories—in front of a church office building. Marchers were told by security not to come any farther than the steps of the building and not to touch the building.
No Mormon leaders were present to greet “their people” and receive their concerns.
Mormon membership is declining in English speaking countries who have access to information about the church and its history on the internet. The church is ramping up their efforts to solicit converts and $ in third-world countries. Two new apostles from outside the US – one Latin-American (from Brazil) and one Asian-American have been appointed, in a precedent-setting move. I am reminded of the documentaries I’ve watched about the trajectory of The Children of God sect.