#hearLDSwomen: My Stake President Was Out of Control. A General Authority Was Appalled by His Behavior but Said There Was No Chance He’d Be Released.

A man stands at the pulpit in front of a congregation.I held a calling in a stake capacity several years ago. My stewardship was minimal, but I was able to observe the workings of the authority hierarchy in the stake. I was stunned and frustrated when, multiple times, my committee’s prayerful decisions for our stewardship were unilaterally overturned and our needs were not met. Despite logic and appeals, our various requests were denied by a stake president who was a stubborn micro manager. There was no recourse for us; we yielded to his directives.
– ElleK

 

My ex bishop continuously told me my answers were straight up wrong. He never spoke to the young men that way.

“Jesus wept because he was showing empathy”

WRONG

“Men’s hearts will fail them could mean that love will cease to exist in the last days among many”

WRONG

“The most important thing about visiting teaching is offering service”

WRONG

I’m not surprised. He talks down to his wife consistently and said to his daughter who tried to correct him, “I would know, I’m the bishop” when he wrote a chronological order as “Jacob, Isaac, Abraham”.
– Amelia Christiansen

 

The stake president came into Relief Society to publicly shame me for some completely false gossip that another woman had been spreading to him, and as he was repeating all these lies about me in front of all the other women, the Relief Society president timidly raised her hand to correct him that these things hadn’t actually happened and he turned and pointed threateningly in her face and actually shouted “YOU DON’T GET TO TALK IN HERE, DO YOU UNDERSTAND?!? I AM THE PRIESTHOOD AUTHORITY IN THIS ROOM!!!

Later, the bishop tried to intervene when the stake president demanded that the Primary president fire me from nursery, and she refused, so he demanded that the bishop fire me AND the Primary president and he refused. So he fired the bishop. He also repeatedly preached in Sacrament Meeting that, in these exact words, “men are always spiritually superior to their wives. Always. It is God’s plan.” With no exceptions. He’s, in the words of my husband, “the most misogynistic man I’ve ever met in my life.” And my husband led sexual harassment trainings IN INDIA for four years. His bar is hiiiiiiigh for that title.

That stake president has been doing this kind of stuff, and worse, for over 6 years now. MANY letters were sent complaining about the stake president by many ward members. I am related to a general authority, and even though he was utterly appalled when I told him just a small portion of what was happening, he basically told me that there was almost no chance that anything would happen to the stake president above a slap on the wrist/suggestion that he lighten up a bit, and that it would all be much more likely to blow back on me if I continued to make a fuss. Finally, after we moved across the country to get away from him, my husband and I sent letters to every single member of the quorum of the 12 apostles, the auxiliary presidents, the presiding bishopric, the head of the 70s… We got a very polite letter in return that they had looked into it and thanks for the letter. And nothing changed. Nobody cares.
– Anonymous

 

During a special 5th Sunday combined priesthood/Relief Society meeting, the stake president began talking about the dangers of pornography and how it can ruin a marriage. I raised my hand, was called on and began to contribute to the conversation. I started to say that something we never talk about in the church, but I think is the real problem with pornography is that overall and in general, the industry is dishonest, shady and dangerous for (mostly) women. I said by viewing it you are more than likely supporting other industries like sex trafficking and child sex trafficking. That, to me, is what can make pornography an insidious thing, not merely the fact that by viewing it your body responds in perfectly normal ways. The stake president talked over me and cut me off and something along the lines of “women don’t always see this matter clearly” and moved on. I could feel my face turn hot and red and I don’t remember anything else after that.
– Emily Earnhart Nevitt

 

Pro Tip: Recognize that the system, as it is set up in the church, completely excludes women from the power hierarchy. Seek out and heed women’s voices regarding men who are in the running for leadership positions. If a man has a history of unrighteous dominion, he should be released.


Click here to read all of the stories in our #hearLDSwomen series. Has anything like this happened to you? Please share in the comments or submit your experience(s) to participate in the series.

“If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23)

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6 Responses

  1. Libby says:

    Good grief, these make me angry.

    I’m very grateful for a stake Relief Society president who taught a lesson in our ward on unrighteous dominion, and encouraged people to identify it and name it.

  2. Dani Addante says:

    So awful! I think church leaders who say things like this are hurting their own reputation. I’m sure almost all the people in the room were appalled at these untrue and unjust things that were said.

  3. Em says:

    How awful. It makes me want to punch someone and at the same time curl up in a ball and never go back.

  4. “When we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.” D&C 121:37

    If I understand the scripture correctly, if the stake president tries to exercise control over others then he doesn’t have the priesthood anymore. God is a higher authority than even the prophet. How can you respect a priesthood he doesn’t have? You can’t ignore scripture.

    • Lily says:

      I had a religion professor at BYU tell us something like that. He was counseling a young married couple and the man kept insisting that the wife wasn’t honoring his priesthood. I think he said to the husband, something like “there isn’t any priesthood here for her to honor.”

  5. Ari says:

    Ugh. I’m sorry. These are particularly egregious examples of misogyny, and they are unfortunately not at all rare. This is why we need gender parity in leadership — so a Stake Presidentess can put the smack-down on this kind of behavior.

    I had a friend ask my why exmormons have so much anger. I’m going to share this post with her.

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