#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.
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.
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”
“Men’s hearts will fail them could mean that love will cease to exist in the last days among many”
“The most important thing about visiting teaching is offering service”
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.
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.
“If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23)