#hearLDSwomen: The Letter I Wrote to My Area Authority About My Stake President and Bishop Was Sent Back to My Stake President Who Called My Husband and Bishop in for a Meeting About My Letter Without Me

I had a number of problems with a previous bishop. I had gone to the stake president multiple times and was ignored. It finally got to the point where I wrote a letter to our area authorities, which got send to the presidency of the seventy. I received a letter back from the presidency and it of course, got sent back down to the stake president. My husband was called into a meeting with the stake president and the bishop. When he got there he found out the meeting was about MY letter. I wasn’t invited to the meeting, nor was I ever contacted about it. It still to this day makes me so angry whenever I think about it.”
– Jayme Harker

 

I was not contacted or included in any of the interviews for my son’s baptism. My husband, who my bishop knew was being investigated for child abuse, was. My husband performed the baptism and my bishop didn’t even ask how I felt about it. I wasn’t ok with it. The worst part is I really really like my bishop. His wife is one of my best friends and he is a good husband and father. And I did tell him after how upsetting it was. He was truly apologetic and had no idea I felt that way and wanted to be included in those things. I’m sure my husband had a part to play in that, but it doesn’t change that it hurt and didn’t feel right.
– Anonymous

 

Similar situation to Anonymous when my grandson was ready to be ordained to be a Teacher. His parents were divorced and he felt a lot of animosity toward his father because of the way he had treated his mother. He was extremely close to my husband, his grandfather, who had been a positive role model for him. He asked my husband to ordain him at our home because my husband was dying of cancer and was too weak to come to church. But my grandson’s desire was overridden by the handbook which stated that his father should do it. After a lot of hassle that our family didn’t need at that time, his grandfather was allowed to do it. But only if his father could be present. (Did I mention that his father was the finance clerk at the time and tight with the bishopric?)” 
– Cherie Pedersen

 

I reported my YSA bishop for engaging in grooming behavior with the young sisters in the ward. When I spoke with the stake president he listened and took it seriously (this was a win!) — however, he was very clear that my role in the process was over. “I’ll take it from here.” I was not allowed to have any follow up information or verify that anything has been done. Why? Because I wasn’t a priesthood leader.
I contacted my stake president to follow up on what, if anything, had been done. He was again genuinely kind; and I was again reminded that I would always be cornered into this kind of exchange, with a man as the intermediary between me and the information I want.

All things considered, it’s been a positive interaction. He listened and took (some) action. I just can’t bring myself to be glad about it. Even in the best of circumstances, I am still required to operate under the authority of a male leader. Where is my authority? I have not yet seen it recognized.
– Carmen Sophia Cutler

 

Pro Tip: Consult women before their dependents receive priesthood ordinances and be very sensitive in cases of abuse.


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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5 Responses

  1. mrskandmrsa says:

    Why do you stay? If you are so disrespected, why do you stay?

    • Dani Addante says:

      I can only speak for myself, but I stay because there is much more good in the church than bad. I’ve probably only come across a couple of instances where I was treated like I was less-than. So it doesn’t happen very often. I believe the experiences that are shared here are rare events for each person, because most church members are good and treat people equally. Personally, I feel that the church is not against women. Yes, there are some men who are awful but they are a tiny minority, and I don’t believe they have all the power. I also stay because I can do so much good in the church and help improve things. There are a lot of good things in the church that I love, such as the belief in a Heavenly Mother, the teaching about equal partners, and the positive view of Eve. I think what it all comes down to is that misunderstandings happen, people make mistakes, people make bad decisions, people have different views…There are so many factors and we can’t perceive everyone’s perspective but our own. People are not perfect and that’s just life and why these things happen.

      • ElleK says:

        I think this is a great list of things that speak to your own experience, but I want to gently push back against some generalizations: for some people, there is more bad than good in the church. For some people, being treated “less-than” DOES happen often in the church and is not a rare event.

        That said, I love your perspective, and I’m glad you’ve found a way to make things work and that you’re committed to making things better. I really admire that. I also really appreciate your list of things that you love about the church.

    • EmilyB says:

      I didn’t stay. After so many years of experiencing this unrighteous dominion, my eyes were powerfully opened to actual abuse I had experienced from a church leader and I finally permitted myself to study church history (you know, the really meaty academic version that leaders tell us not to read because they are scared of it—they know how powerful the truth can be in leading people to freedom).

      Once I learned how Mormonism really came to be, I was freed from further flagellating myself for an organization that has been oppressing women for nearly two centuries. However, I honor my female Mormon ancestors who were convinced that submitting to/sustaining Mormon men was their only portal to eternal salvation and who supported priesthood supremacy for many generations. The women in my all-Mormon family expected me to carry on the tradition of cheerfully submitting/sustaining as well, but instead I thumbed my nose at the priesthood by having my name removed from their records and choose to support my fellow sisters/victims from a distance.

      Mormon women deserve all the love, empathy, and support they can get. Nobody can understand how persuasive Mormonism is until one has been raised in it. Mormon women are perhaps some of the world’s greatest unsung heroes, especially because of all the hard responsibilities they accept, the challenging work they do, and all while their belief system places them in such low-ranked positions in their church and eternal hierarchy. Even though I am no longer one of them, I remain in awe of them. These are mighty women!

  2. Good grief! The title says it all. It’s amazing how church culture makes men think this is normal and okay. Would another behave this way elsewhere?

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