I have three stories with the same bishop. My first experience was the baptismal interview for my daughter in 2017. I informed him that I was not ok with her being interviewed alone with him. I also told him that it was not personal, but as a teacher I know that best practices for children and adults to keep both safe is to never be in a room alone, with no other witnesses. With the church’s emphasis on two or three whiteness for baptismal and other ordinances, I didn’t think it would be a problem. We ended up in a standoff, where he absolutely would not allow her baptism without a private meeting with her. While I don’t believe he was a threat to her, I didn’t want to introduce grooming practices where she would never question being alone with adults and talking about personal topics. In the end he got his way, and I sat out in the hallway in tears, feeling like a failure and that I wasn’t brave enough to stand my ground.
The second story was shared with me by another member about the same bishop. He came to the relief society meeting to inform the women of the high number of men in the ward coming in to confess pornography. He even said he has seen 75% of the males, and it’s a very small ward. He asked the women to define porn and answers such as women in shorts and tank tops and tight work out clothing came up. He did not correct these ideas. He also decided to discuss how bad sex stores and toys are for a marriage and any type of restraint … he also discussed intimacy with his own wife and how happy they are without needing to try anything extra. TMI. My friend who was at the meeting felt that she needed to meet with the bishop to clarify what she heard. He reiterated the same message… and told her that when he interviews the young boys of the ward, he does not ask them if they masturbate, but rather how many times. He also reminds them of his priesthood power of discernment and that he will know if they are lying. If they still do not confess he will tell them that he is going to invite the parents in on this conversation. He boasted that the youngest confession came from a 9 year old boy. Later that week my friend had a temple renewal interview with the bishop. She was worried that he might think she had been challenging his authority in their last meeting, so she was a little nervous. She had originally scheduled a renewal meeting and was set to meet with a counselor on a Wednesday, on a Tuesday night she got a call that the bishop wanted to meet with her himself in an hour. With out much time from returning from work and getting her kids fed, she attended the meeting in the the outfit she wore to work, which was trousers and a nice blouse. At the meeting he sighed when he saw her, with an eye roll, and said he was disappointed that she didn’t take the meeting more serious. He told her she needed to have more respect for the temple recommend and wear church dress to the meeting. She felt deflated and that he was showing her who was in charge by putting in her place. In the end she did get her recommend, but now does not attend church regularly because of this bishop.
The final story involves what the bishop has done to my husband. He has a very strong testimony of the gospel and is also very honest in everything he does. He does not watch porn very often maybe three times a year, but every time he does he feels the obligation to confess and repent. His bishop once told him that half of the men in the ward confess to watching porn and the other half are liars. As a result of confessing more than once, the bishop determined that my husband was a sex addict and need to attend weekly meetings run by the church. This spiraled my husband into a depression and feelings of self loathing. I believe he was also black listed from any callings of importance in the ward. We have been here for about 10 years and my husband had served in nursery and primary and currently plays the organ. I have tried to help undo some of the damage this has been done to his self esteem, but it still is a weight on his shoulders making him feel continuously broken and inferior. If anything in his personal or professional life goes wrong he attributes it as punishment from god and feels shame constantly for very natural and common desires. He is not a sex addict in any way, but now believes he is.