Guest Post: An Open Letter to My Ward Members #MormonMeToo
To my fellow ward members,
Yesterday was Good Friday.
And in Mormonism this week, we need Good Friday, a day of fasting and penance. A day to bring my heart to Christ, to view the cross anew, to see His pain and His love. I need to see the face of Jesus clearly right now, in this moment when the clearest things in my mind are these:
An MTC president groomed and then sexually assaulted missionaries in a basement office.
His leaders knew about it. They did nothing. Worse than nothing, they promoted him.
The current response of this church that I have placed trust in is “There was nothing we could do.”
I have watched this week for some ripple, some indication that these reports were enough to trouble the still waters.
But, ward members, you aren’t talking about it. Not a sound. How do you not know? How can you not be aware? How can our chapels and meetings and quorums fill with words and songs that ignore this, that move easily forward as if nothing happened? My social media feeds are full of pre-General Conference chatter, quotes, requests to join us and listen to church leaders, to find peace with us, post after post of happy words. I am usually the one doing that too. But not this time.
Today I approach the foot of the Cross, with all these women:
The woman who was sexually assaulted as a missionary by the MTC president, and who watched him move through the ranks of priesthood leadership with no legal or ecclesiastical consequences.
The woman who reported intimate partner abuse to her bishop and was told to repent for causing it.
The woman who sat in a YSA Relief Society meeting as her bishop took the entire hour to give instructions on what she should do to not get raped and how to repent if she does allow it to happen.
To the woman who was sexually harassed by her mission president, repeatedly, relentlessly.
I cannot approach General Conference this time with any measure of joy. I am mourning, mourning with every person who has been sexually assaulted by an ecclesiastical leader, mourning that no one believed them, mourning that no meaningful changes have occurred in policy or structure, having little hope that things will change anytime soon.
So. If the conference talks Saturday and Sunday are about institutional accountability and transparency and actual healing from this specific wound in our faith community, then I am there.
If not, I have Easter things to do, and wounded sisters to attend to.