I am an active member of the Church, who served a mission and is sealed in the temple. I have faithfully served my whole life but unfortunately personally know of two Bishops who have sexually abused children.
My dad joined the Church later in life when he was 42. He had only been a member for two years when in a rush he was made Bishop in the Bristol, England Stake. The Bishop before him was removed suddenly due to paedophilia. He had sexually abused a girl. This was not the first time the Bishop had been a paedophile. He had struck before, and this had been made known to the Brethren by a family member of mine, but they made him Bishop anyway claiming he had repented.
I have been divorced. When I was married to my first husband I met his two nieces and learned that they had been sexually abused by their dad. When their dad was made Bishop, the eldest abused daughter went to the police. She could not bear another teenager being sexually abused. She knew that the policy of one to one interviews could enable further abuse by him. Subsequently an investigation took place and the Bishop was found guilty of sexual abuse and sent to prison.
I divorced my first husband due to infidelity. From speaking with my husband directly, two professional marriage counselors concluded that they did not know if he had ever been physically unfaithful but said that he was definitely being emotionally unfaithful.
There were never ending phone calls and texts to the other woman. There were elaborate lies. On one occasion my husband explained that he was staying in a hotel as he had work in the North of England. It transpired that he stayed the night at the woman’s house. Vast sums of money were taken from our bank account and given to her.
Despite all this I still loved my husband and desperately wanted someone to help our marriage. As my husband was still an active member of the Church I poured my heart out to my Bishop pleading for him to help. Rather than tell my husband that his infidelity was wrong, in an interview with my Bishop I was told, “it sounds to me that you are jealous of your husband’s interactions with her. If you are jealous then the sin lies with you! It is a sin to be jealous. You need to change!”
I left the room and threw up! I was so stressed from my meeting with the Bishop that I suffered constant nose bleeds.
Myself, the victim, was the one being blamed! I was the one made to feel guilt about his infidelity!?!
I remember thinking at the time, “if this is the guilt I am made to feel, Lord please help the teenager who confesses of sin to this bishop!”
From first hand experience I became vastly aware of the emotional, physiological, and physical damage, untrained, ordinary men, acting as Bishops, can cause people when left to speak to vulnerable people, one to one, alone. Through personal acquaintances, I became vastly aware that Bishops can and do sexually abuse people, destroying their lives, hence should never be left in a room alone with a child/teenager to groom or abuse them, no matter what the Bishop’s reputation!