Natasha Helfer Parker interviews a prior bishop… who is choosing to remain anonymous due to a variety of concerns he has about talking about these topics to begin with (i.e. confidentiality of those he has served as a bishop, confidentiality of his own family situation and legal protection for sharing what he is talking about today). He will go by “Dave” in this interview and his voice has been altered to protect his identity.
Dave reached out to me due to my involvement with the protectldschildren.org movement where we are asking the church to consider stopping one-on-one bishop interviews where minors are asked about sexual behavior. He reached out
He is sharing his own experiences that he had as a father where one of his children had been molested in their ward building. He shares the experience he had with his wife as they tried to deal with this concern within the church system and how that ended up being futile. He also shares his experience with the church “hotline” that is supposed to help in these situations… and is very clear about the expectations members should have (or not have) when it comes to the system that is currently in place.
Dave also speaks about his own experience serving as a bishop and the types of training that were available, the guidance given when he himself was in a situation where people were reporting abuse, etc.
His main message to listeners throughout the podcast is to gain a clear understanding of the legalities involved and how the church is in of itself a legal entity and will act as such (whether one considers this ethical/moral or not). He states that the church tells parents that they are responsible for the care of their own children, even in a church building… and that they are responsible for their own legal counsel. Therefore, make sure that as a victim or as a parent of a victim you are contacting appropriate authorities and resources… and not rely on the church to be a player in solving these issues.
Natasha Helfer Parker runs an online practice, Symmetry Solutions and writes at The Mormon Therapist for Patheos: Hosting the Conversation of Faith. She also hosts the popular podcasts, Mormon Mental Health & Mormon Sex Info and creates the sex educational resource, Sex Talk with Natasha.