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I'll try to keep this as short and to the point as I can.

Last winter I was sexually assaulted and hurt pretty bad physically. Combine that with the fact that I was getting over a serious relationship and I was not in a good place mentally. I ended up taking medication for it, doing therapy, especially after doing some weird things via social media as part of a maladaptive coping strategy.

During this time, my roommate begins minor things to bug, hurt me, which eventually transformed into outright harassment. I was getting awful text messages, my email/Facebook/iCloud/journal were not safe at any moment from them trying to pry into it, and there were long periods where I didn't go home. When I did I tried to time it best for when I knew that they wouldn't be there.

Eventually, my friend that I'll call Emily (not her real name), starts getting harassed via email and texts as well. She goes to the Bishop with her concerns, and rather than listening to her, he proceeds to explain to her my medical history, including therapy and how I acted out over social media in the winter. These were things that I and my family had told him private in interviews and phone calls.

It was around this time that I submitted a report to the police, including all the evidence I had kept. Emily decided to submit hers as well. I kept her semi-updated on most things.

Fast forward six months till now.

I had moved away from the area I was in, across the US, and hadn't been involved with anyone from the ward I was in for a long time. I still kept in touch with Emily, but it was more about social updates on her life than anything. Things were going well, I was involved as a temple worker, and had finally come off my medication. I was excited to get to know a new city, and really hadn't thought about this situation for months.

Out of the blue I get a message from my old Bishop. He needs to talk to me. I told him that I couldn't right away because 1) I was helping my family with their move overseas and 2) none of us had phones due my contract being up and moving, and family because of their impending move overseas. I told him I could connect with him over email/some messenger, and would be happy to help him with whatever he needed within about 4 days.

He said that was fine, but as the days past he kept asking me if I had a phone number to be reached at, after I told him no repeatedly. He also asked if we could move the meeting up. Which I also told him would not be possible.

During that time, Emily got a hold of me and said that the Bishop had called her mom insisting that she give him my old number. When she told him that I didn't have a phone, he called Emily and began to press her for information concerning the harassment, police investigation, etc to the point of yelling.

Finally, the day comes. I message him in the morning say that we could talk in the early evening, and asked him what the topic was. I had been involved in a committee back in the ward, and thought it was possibly related to that (though after hearing what happened to Emily, that was more of a hope than what I knew to be true). He told me that he wanted to talk about "some left over matters in the ward he wanted to pass by me," and that I "wouldn't need any preparation for it or anything."

He begins by asking about my health, and future plans, and then out of nowhere asks me to confirm whether or not the rumours he had been hearing were true. Emily, under some stress, had apparently confided in some of her friends about the police stuff, and then they had gone to him.

I told the Bishop that with all due respect, I wasn't going to comment on an ongoing police report. His response floored me.

He proceeded to tell me that unless I answered his questions he would open up a disciplinary council against me for badmouthing my former roommate.

The feelings of anxiety, stress and worry came flooding back and I panicked and desperately sent messages to people in the ward asking if I could use their phone to make a long distance call. I finally got one 25 minutes later, during which he was pressing me for a response.

I told him over the phone my reasons for requesting privacy: 1) I simply could not give him the specific information he was looking for, the city in which I lived had very strict confidentiality guidelines on submitted police reports and ongoing investigations, 2) I knew of his tendency to give out private personal info he got in interviews to members of the ward, and didn't trust him with any info I did give him and that 3) I had a new life, I had moved, was excited about my calling, was finally feeling emotionally, physically and mentally healthy, and that I had zero communication with anyone back where I had come from.

He began to yell at me, telling me that I was seriously mentally faulty and it was hurting others, and that he didn't believe for one moment there was a police investigation. He said that I had a week to give him the info, or he would open up disciplinary proceedings against me. Right before he hung up he calmed down and said "I'm not yelling at you, I'm just very excitable about this situation." He insisted that I confess, "take my lumps," and move on.

In retrospect, I should have insisted that Emily keep her lips closed to her friends about this situation, but other than her I had kept quiet. I wasn't out to create a smear campaign, or badmouth anyone. I had remained quiet and had been attending a family ward to avoid the stress. Now I feel like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place:

I don't trust this man, I don't trust his intentions. Even if I did trust him, I'm restrained in the info I can give him. My parents are furious at this situation, and it was all I could do to keep them from calling him out of anger. Our last few days together have been spent in constant stress and worry. I feel deceived and led on by his intro to our conversation.

I've considered calling the Stake President back in that stake, explaining to him the situation, and asking for no further contact from that Bishop. I've considered blocking the man from all contact, letting him begin the disciplinary proceedings and deal with it on my end. All I know is that I just want some peace and privacy.

Any help would be appreciated. What do I do in this situation?

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You might want to edit your post of most of your personal information. I don't think the details are needed.

The key issue is if he is your former bishop, can he hold a disciplinary council for you. I don't think so. I think that could only happen if he started it before you transferred out. He could send information toyour current bishop. Someone more knowledgeable can respond.

Edited by Calm
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This sounds like a very unfortunate situation.

 

First, a former bishop i.e. you have a new bishop and live in a different area, is incapable of holding any form of disciplinary court.  I don't know where that is coming from, but it is meaningless. 

 

Second, he is your former bishop and this does not appear to be a healthy situation; stop talking to him.  If he calls, don't answer the phone.  If he continues, send him an email, request that he no longer contact you, and that you are in contact with your current bishop.  For the sake of your mental health, you have chosen to not communicate and ask him to respect your choice.

 

It is challenging to offer advice when understanding so little of the situation.  It does not seem wise to further escalate this conflict at present.  Should the bishop not respect your request of no further contact, then write an email to the stake president.  Explain that you have requested to not be contacted and the bishop has violated that request.  Ask him to handle it and share with him that you are not interested in any further discussion or contact at present. 

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You need to send your former stake president the account as you have presented it here, with additional details which you could not present here.  You need to emphasize several major points: (1) Your former bishop has flagrantly violated his responsibility to maintain the strict confidentiality of the private matters which you have shared with him.  He many not discuss such matters with his counselors or his wife, nor with anyone else in the ward, without your explicit permission.  However, he may use such information in a disciplinary council, which again must guard the confidentiality of all matters at issue. (2) Your former bishop immediately lost his power of discernment (the Holy Spirit) the moment he began yelling and prejudging you.  (3) Your former bishop could have requested a copy of the police report (which may entail Church disciplinary action against any member involved in assaulting you or harrassing you), rather than virtually calling you a liar.  (4) You have suffered great trauma already and appear to have made a good recovery.  You don't need new difficulties heaped on the old ones by your former bishop.  (5) In your letter, make it crystal clear that all facts presented in your letter to that stake president should be considered fully confidential, and not to be carelessly bandied about (as your former bishop has foolishly done).  (6) The stake president ought to seriously consider removal of that bishop for violation of one of his most sacred responsibilities.

 

Moreover, virtually every state in the USA has iron-clad rules protecting clergy-parishioner privacy (priest-penitent privilege) which is fully applicable to all LDS bishops and stake presidents, and their representatives.  It is a violation of secular law for them to disclose your private disclosures to third parties without your permission.  If your stake president does not give you satisfaction, you may need to seek legal counsel to force compliance.  If it were me in your situation, I would probably even write a letter to Elder Oaks -- who does understand both ecclesiastical and secular law in this matter.  You need not mention any of this paragraph to the stake president, unless he fails to take appropriate action.  At that point, he may need to be removed.  And, by the way, such removals do take place, even though they are rare.

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You might want to edit your post of most of your personal information. I don't think the details are needed.

The key issue is if he is your former bishop, can he hold a disciplinary council for you. I don't think so. I think that could only happen if he started it before you transferred out. He could send information toyour current bishop. Someone more knowledgeable can respond.

Too much info for an original (first time) post. When someone's first post is pure negative comments about Church leaders, it is hard to think it is a troll. Maybe not, but time will tell; I hope not. I hate thinking the worst in others.
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I see no reason not to believe, someone is in a bad spot and looking for advice. Sometimes people share too much when they are upset.

I said to edit it for the protection of the poster, not because I think it's a troll. We don't need to know that much to direct her to the right info, imo.

Edited by Calm
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...I've considered calling the Stake President back in that stake, explaining to him the situation, and asking for no further contact from that Bishop. I've considered blocking the man from all contact, letting him begin the disciplinary proceedings and deal with it on my end. All I know is that I just want some peace and privacy.

Any help would be appreciated. What do I do in this situation?

So sorry for all that you have been through.

 

I think your impression is spot on: contact his Stake President.

 

God bless.

Edited by hagoth7
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PS to my above post to Pa Pa...

There have been a number of first time posters who post a few or even one post looking for advice with lots of information who drop the conversation quite quickly. They may be trolls, but I think it more likely they are just having second thoughts on an impulsive posting.

And they can't edit until 25 posts...which means in this case, you (the opening poster) will need to 'report' yourself to the mods to get them to delete whatever part you want if you decide to go that route.

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I'll try to keep this as short and to the point as I can.

Last winter I was sexually assaulted and hurt pretty bad physically. Combine that with the fact that I was getting over a serious relationship and I was not in a good place mentally. I ended up taking medication for it, doing therapy, especially after doing some weird things via social media as part of a maladaptive coping strategy.

During this time, my roommate begins minor things to bug, hurt me, which eventually transformed into outright harassment. I was getting awful text messages, my email/Facebook/iCloud/journal were not safe at any moment from them trying to pry into it, and there were long periods where I didn't go home. When I did I tried to time it best for when I knew that they wouldn't be there.

Eventually, my friend that I'll call Emily (not her real name), starts getting harassed via email and texts as well. She goes to the Bishop with her concerns, and rather than listening to her, he proceeds to explain to her my medical history, including therapy and how I acted out over social media in the winter. These were things that I and my family had told him private in interviews and phone calls.

It was around this time that I submitted a report to the police, including all the evidence I had kept. Emily decided to submit hers as well. I kept her semi-updated on most things.

Fast forward six months till now.

I had moved away from the area I was in, across the US, and hadn't been involved with anyone from the ward I was in for a long time. I still kept in touch with Emily, but it was more about social updates on her life than anything. Things were going well, I was involved as a temple worker, and had finally come off my medication. I was excited to get to know a new city, and really hadn't thought about this situation for months.

Out of the blue I get a message from my old Bishop. He needs to talk to me. I told him that I couldn't right away because 1) I was helping my family with their move overseas and 2) none of us had phones due my contract being up and moving, and family because of their impending move overseas. I told him I could connect with him over email/some messenger, and would be happy to help him with whatever he needed within about 4 days.

He said that was fine, but as the days past he kept asking me if I had a phone number to be reached at, after I told him no repeatedly. He also asked if we could move the meeting up. Which I also told him would not be possible.

During that time, Emily got a hold of me and said that the Bishop had called her mom insisting that she give him my old number. When she told him that I didn't have a phone, he called Emily and began to press her for information concerning the harassment, police investigation, etc to the point of yelling.

Finally, the day comes. I message him in the morning say that we could talk in the early evening, and asked him what the topic was. I had been involved in a committee back in the ward, and thought it was possibly related to that (though after hearing what happened to Emily, that was more of a hope than what I knew to be true). He told me that he wanted to talk about "some left over matters in the ward he wanted to pass by me," and that I "wouldn't need any preparation for it or anything."

He begins by asking about my health, and future plans, and then out of nowhere asks me to confirm whether or not the rumours he had been hearing were true. Emily, under some stress, had apparently confided in some of her friends about the police stuff, and then they had gone to him.

I told the Bishop that with all due respect, I wasn't going to comment on an ongoing police report. His response floored me.

He proceeded to tell me that unless I answered his questions he would open up a disciplinary council against me for badmouthing my former roommate.

The feelings of anxiety, stress and worry came flooding back and I panicked and desperately sent messages to people in the ward asking if I could use their phone to make a long distance call. I finally got one 25 minutes later, during which he was pressing me for a response.

I told him over the phone my reasons for requesting privacy: 1) I simply could not give him the specific information he was looking for, the city in which I lived had very strict confidentiality guidelines on submitted police reports and ongoing investigations, 2) I knew of his tendency to give out private personal info he got in interviews to members of the ward, and didn't trust him with any info I did give him and that 3) I had a new life, I had moved, was excited about my calling, was finally feeling emotionally, physically and mentally healthy, and that I had zero communication with anyone back where I had come from.

He began to yell at me, telling me that I was seriously mentally faulty and it was hurting others, and that he didn't believe for one moment there was a police investigation. He said that I had a week to give him the info, or he would open up disciplinary proceedings against me. Right before he hung up he calmed down and said "I'm not yelling at you, I'm just very excitable about this situation." He insisted that I confess, "take my lumps," and move on.

In retrospect, I should have insisted that Emily keep her lips closed to her friends about this situation, but other than her I had kept quiet. I wasn't out to create a smear campaign, or badmouth anyone. I had remained quiet and had been attending a family ward to avoid the stress. Now I feel like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place:

I don't trust this man, I don't trust his intentions. Even if I did trust him, I'm restrained in the info I can give him. My parents are furious at this situation, and it was all I could do to keep them from calling him out of anger. Our last few days together have been spent in constant stress and worry. I feel deceived and led on by his intro to our conversation.

I've considered calling the Stake President back in that stake, explaining to him the situation, and asking for no further contact from that Bishop. I've considered blocking the man from all contact, letting him begin the disciplinary proceedings and deal with it on my end. All I know is that I just want some peace and privacy.

Any help would be appreciated. What do I do in this situation?

In my own experience, I have seen otherwise excellent Church leaders jump to conclusions, and feel 100% justified in jumping to those conclusions, when they are dealing with someone who is in an emotionally traumatized state of mind Because the men I am speaking of were not trained in psychology. they assumed the traumatic behaviors they observed in a certain troubled individual (e.g. panic attacks, hyper-vigilance, anxiety, depression, obsessive thinking, etc.) were proof of mental illness rather than being evidentiary of abuse and psychological injury (there is an important difference between mental Illness and psychological injury; the former being a lifelong affliction needing ongoing treatment, while the latter has the possibility of healing with time).

It also needs to be said that if you are speaking the truth when you say your former Bishop believes you are "mentally faulty," then the way he treated you on the phone is the equivalent to throwing gas on a fire or pouring acid into an open wound.

Your mistake is that you trusted 'Emily' with the kind of information you would have been better off to keep to yourself. I know when people are hurtIng as much as you were that they try to seek comfort by finding someone they can trust and confide in, but too many people who are entrusted with secrets all too often can't help but succumb to the temptation to disclose the secret to others.

Edited by Bobbieaware
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Hello Stormin'...

I'm  furious at this situation... and agree with Robert F. Smith and Hagoth...

You need to contact your Stake Pres ASAP and put an end to this bishop's threatening you with a disciplinary council and any other contact he tries to have with you!!

And, you need your parents' support... you may have given us too many details, but it all came poring out of you because of your frustration.  Who is this bishop who so carelessly and flagrantly blabbed your private conversation and information.  He needs to be stopped and now!!  How dare he threaten you with a disciplinary council?  Do not trust him... If the Stake Pres will do nothing, then I'd go to the next level.  Someone needs to be aware of this bishop's actions, and in my opinion, he needs to be removed as he obviously lacks judgment and wisdom, and has no respect for confidentiality between a bishop and member.

 

GG

 

EDIT TO ADD:  I'm treating the OP and this poster as if this is legitimate... not a troll. 

Edited by Garden Girl
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Not a troll. Promise. At a time in my life where I was largely alone except for the odd friend, the counselor I was seeing, and my family, the Gospel was one big anchor in my life.

 

It's brought a lot of feelings back of judgement, feeling deficient, etc. The past months since moving and having zero contact with that ward or its leaders have been one of the most peaceful, building, and healing moments where I've been able to just concentrate on my scripture study, reconnecting with the temple (the state I was in previously didn't have one super close), and finally being able to move on and upwards medically. This has brought a lot of those feelings back.

 

The reason I brought this up was because after last week's conversation I got another message from him reminding me that we spoke last week and to "please don't delay" in giving him a copy of the police investigation.

 

I need to deal with this soon, finish it permanently, and move on.

 

Thank you for your advice. From what it sounds like, the best course of action would be to contact my new bishop and old stake president, explain to them the situation as clearly and openly as I can, and ask for no further contact from my old Bishop.

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I see no reason not to believe, someone is in a bad spot and looking for advice. Sometimes people share too much when they are upset.

I said to edit it for the protection of the poster, not because I think it's a troll. We don't need to know that much to direct her to the right info, imo.

I understand, I have just learned to be caution...as I said I could be wrong and I usually am.
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Stormin,

Sorry for the terrible treatment by your bishop. It's truly unfortunate.

1- Absolutely call the Stake President and file a complaint against this bishop. Be prepared with good notes to cover the essential items in a logical, dispassionate way but also let the SP know that the bishops actions are unacceptable.

2- Others have already said that a former bishop cannot start a disciplinary action. This is true, unless he manipulates the system. It's possible that he could request your records back and then begin the action. Again, this is a good reason to contact the SP in advance. The bishop is required to get approval to convene DC fromt the SP so he will either seek that approval by sharing his side of the story, OR he will bypass the SP and do it anyway. Eventually he will have to answer for that. The bishop is likely bluffing, but the SP needs to correct him and put an end to this.

Good luck.

ETA- The bishop has no right to a copy of the police report. Don't feel that you have any responsibility to comply.

Edited by HappyJackWagon
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Your mistake is that you trusted 'Emily' with the kind of information you would have been better off to keep to yourself. I know when people are hurtIng as much as you were that they try to seek comfort by finding someone they can trust and confide in, but too many people who are entrusted with secrets all too often can't help but succumb to the temptation to disclose the secret to others.

 

Yeah...I've learned that lesson. If she really felt the need to contribute or submit her own police report she should have without me saying anything.

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Hello Stormin'...

I'm  furious at this situation... and agree with Robert F. Smith and Hagoth...

You need to contact your Stake Pres ASAP and put an end to this bishop's threatening you with a disciplinary council and any other contact he tries to have with you!!

And, you need your parents' support... you may have given us too many details, but it all came poring out of you because of your frustration.  Who is this bishop who so carelessly and flagrantly blabbed your private conversation and information.  He needs to be stopped and now!!  How dare he threaten you with a disciplinary council?  Do not trust him... If the Stake Pres will do nothing, then I'd go to the next level.  Someone needs to be aware of this bishop's actions, and in my opinion, he needs to be removed as he obviously lacks judgment and wisdom, and has no respect for confidentiality between a bishop and member.

 

GG

 

EDIT TO ADD:  I'm treating the OP and this poster as if this is legitimate... not a troll.

Agreed, there are a lot more like this. My Bishop for a while and my best friend for 30 years, did something terrible. My wife and I tried to get one of those reality shows to help, remodel a member of our Ward's house. We did so because they had already lost on child to a rare genetic disorder, and now they are loosing another child to the same disorder. They basicly need their downstairs area of the house made wheelchair accessible, and a bedroom made ready for items that will accomidate lots of medical equipment. When none of these shows did not respond, we turned to our Ward. We raised money and materials to do the work and we began the work. When I rebuilt the electrical service and called for an inspection, I found out that our Bushop who was an architect did not obtain any permits. He became very angry that I called to get an inspection for fear that it could have put him at risk. Then work came to a stop because of 2008 crash and the A/C guy dropped out. One day a member of the Bishopric showed up and asked how things were going, they responded that the Bishop has not been back so not much has been done. The counselor asked the Bishop when work would resume...that Sunday the Bishop asked the members for their recommends for not sustaining their Bishop. The Stake President told them to keep their recommends and after some digging made the Bishop return all the money to the donors,, as the Bishop had used the money and materials to build a new garage...in short he meant to put fear in the lives of those to whom things were supposed to go to, to keep anyone from knowing what was going on. The Church, meaning Church headquarters sent someone out and now they will be paying for and overseeing the project, and the toxic at atmosphere created by this Bishop led to our Ward being dissolved and merged with another. Each time the new Ward meets, it looks like a Stake Conference.

Having said all of that 99.9% of all Bishops are true to their callings, and if they share private conversations outside their office they should be released on the spot!

Edit to add: I am treating them not as a troll, my comment was just said as I hope that they we're not. Sorry that my comment was seen in any other light...I would have though my 1,000's of other posts did not lead others to give me the benefit of the doubt. I would hope my friends would know this.

To the original poster, I meant no harm, nor was I passing judgement on you.

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Even I get things wrong at times. :). I was thinking you were being protective of those of us on the board which is a nice thing to be, I was not criticizing you for it. Just making my own observations.

Edited by Calm
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I am so very sorry.   I agree that you should email the bishop telling him that he iappears to be intentionally trying to intimidate a witness in a police investigation and he needs to quit, that he has already breached your confidence once that you know of, and you do not intend to give him the opportunity to do it again, and that he is never to contact you, and if he slanders you again (including, but not limited to the old SP or your new bishop), like he did when he breached your confidentiality before, and if he continues to intentionally cause you emotional distress, you will be forced to seek legal counsel.  Then say, you are not my bishop, have not been my bishop since I moved on ___________.  Please do not contact me again.  (You email this to put in writing what you told him over the phone, but cannot prove you did without confirming it in writing.)

 

And yes, you need to share your OP with your SP and explain what else you have done, and ask him to stop the bishop from slandering you and from emotionally abusing you and from trying to intimidate you as a witness in a police matter.

 

But I think you should also do one more thing.   The SP is going to contact your current bishop.  If you haven't introduced yourself to him yet, do so now.   You don't need to tell him all about the drama (and I think I wouldn't), but do tell him that you've had a hard time, that you are coping and better than you have been for a while with the fresh start, and disclose your limitations and ask for a calling that you can do with them.   Then volunteer to do things in the ward, and always do as you agree to do.  This will establish you as a solid member and the bishop will be less inclined to believe any tales that come with you.   It will also help the bishop to not routinely forward your records back to the old congregation if the old bishop should ask for them.  (Do you know for sure your records are now in the new ward?)

Edited by rpn
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Emails can be altered...maybe it would be better to send him a certified letter that you keep a copy of and sign of course. And that way he can't just delete it and say he never got it. (been watching a conspiracy show and am in paranoid mode :) )

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"It will also help the bishop to not routinely forward your records back to the old congregation if the old bishop should ask for them"

Wouldn't someone check first with the member before moving them anywhere?

 

Probably not. In fact I am not sure if the old bishop has to approve the transfer. I think they just go when you request them. There is not a spate of malicious record grabbing but no, this would not work as some sneaky legal move from a cop drama to "move jurisdictions". Unless you actually move you do not return to the old ward.

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Probably not. In fact I am not sure if the old bishop has to approve the transfer. I think they just go when you request them. There is not a spate of malicious record grabbing but no, this would not work as some sneaky legal move from a cop drama to "move jurisdictions". Unless you actually move you do not return to the old ward.

 

That's correct, but if the old ward requests and gets the records, then the new ward can just request them right back. 

 

AND THEN IMMEDIATELY NOTIFY THE MEMBERSHIP DEPT IN SALT LAKE THAT THERE ARE SHENANIGANS GOING ON.

 

This old bishop sounds like a real piece of work.

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Largely, I agree with Brother Robert F. Smith's advice, with a caveat.  Although this may seem unduly bureaucratic, there is a layer of administration between your stake president and the Twelve, and this chain of administration should be followed if you fail to resolve the issue with your stake president.  He is accountable to an Area Presidency, which can then take the matter to higher authority if necessary.

 

I wish you well. :)

Edited by Kenngo1969
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Largely, I agree with Brother Robert F. Smith's advice, with a caveat.  Although this may seem unduly bureaucratic, there is a layer of administration between your stake president and the Twelve, and this chain of administration should be followed if you fail to resolve the issue with your stake president.  He is accountable to an Area Presidency, which can then take the matter to higher authority if necessary.

 

I wish you well. :)

 

I thought they got rid of Area Presidencies within the United States?

 

That's correct, but if the old ward requests and gets the records, then the new ward can just request them right back. 

 

AND THEN IMMEDIATELY NOTIFY THE MEMBERSHIP DEPT IN SALT LAKE THAT THERE ARE SHENANIGANS GOING ON.

 

This old bishop sounds like a real piece of work.

 

To be fair I have my doubts that he would tell this story the same way. If the Bishops cannot work it out though there is a process.

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I thought they got rid of Area Presidencies within the United States?

 

 

To be fair I have my doubts that he would tell this story the same way. If the Bishops cannot work it out though there is a process.

While I can"t help but feel sympathetic the original poster and her horrible story, for the sake of balance I must also add that it amazes me how quickly my impressions and perceptions of a situation can change when I hear the other side of the story. Very often the truth seems to fall somewhere in the middle. It's rare to find a person who can tell a tale of aggrievement in a perfectly fair and balanced way. I've railed against local Church on occasion, only to calm down over time and realize that I was at least partly to blame (sometimes mostly to blame) for a bad situation.

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