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Understanding How to Prevent and Respond to Sexual Predation in the Church


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37 minutes ago, smac97 said:

This sounds interesting, but bishops are not therapists.  And matters of sexuality are very difficult to address.  And the Church is getting constantly berated from the Sam Young folks who insist that bishops ask no questions about sex-related matters at all.

Sounds good.  But how much of this is likely to come out in a bishop interview? 

How much of this is supposed to come out in a bishop interview? 

Are parents sending their kids in for interviews with the expectation that bishops are going to ask questions designed to detect predatory "selection, engagement, grooming, assault, and concealment?"

Disclosure of abuse may happen to come out in a bishop interview.  But Matt Long seems to want to turn bishop interviews into a referendum on detecting abuse, rather than broad pastoral care.  I'm not sure that's a good idea.

Right.  And this is a big problem.  I'm not sure bishops should become as McCarthy-esque as Matt Long seems to want them to be as pertaining to abuse.  

Bishops help a lot with "purposeful" disclosures (where the child voluntarily discloses).  Unfortunately, Matt Long gives the Church no credit for that.  Like, at all.

Bishops also encounter a lot of "accidental" disclosures, and provide a lot of help in these situations.  Again, Matt Long gives the Church no credit for this.  At all.

So we're left with "prompted" disclosures.  Apparently Matt Long wants bishops to be trained on how to "prompt" children to disclose abuse.  This is a really thorny issue, but Long treats it as simple and straightforward.  A child may make a comment that could be construed as what Long calls a "piecemeal disclosure" of abuse.  Or the comment may not be about abuse at all.  This is where Long seems to want bishops to get "training," apparently to become McCarthy-esque in their inquiries, asking the child further and more probing questions to see if abuse has occurred.  Is he sure this is a good idea?  Really sure?  What about Sam Young's point?  Is there a risk of bishops creating confusion, discomfort, fear, etc. in turning standard and regularly-scheduled interviews into an inquiries about possible sex abuse?  

Yes.  And when the bishop becomes aware of such a disclosure, he can call the helpline for guidance on how to proceed.  There is no one-size-fits-all approach.  Some disclosures will merit further attention and possible reporting, some will not.  

Right.  Do you think bishop interviews are intended for this?  Should bishops be using interviews to affirmatively ask questions about "good touch/bad touch" sorts of things?

None of these is simple.

Yep.

I question that.  Like, a lot.  I don't think it's accurate to characterize bishop interviews as "a call for disclosures {of sexual abuse}."  Bishop interviews are about broad pastoral care.  I think we need to be really careful about turning them into what Long wants, which is apparently a session where the bishop goes out of his way to ask questions designed to elicit "disclosures" of sexual abuse.  I see all sorts of risks and pitfalls in altering bishop interviews into this sort of thing.  I find much of what Sam Young said and did to be contemptible and obnoxious, but in very broad terms I think bishops should not be proactively delving into questions about sex-related issues, which is apparently want Long wants.

How do you know?

I'm not really going to give much credence to this story.  We have you telling us what Long said what Sarah said her bishop said many years ago.  Triple hearsay about what a bishop purportedly said to an 8-year old years ago.  We don't have enough information here.  Frankly, I find it hard to believe that a girl made "disclosures" of this sort every year for five years, and that the bishop never picked up on them.  I suspect Long is embellishing stuff here.  To make the bishop look bad.  To make the Church look bad.  Such is the overarching thesis of his remarks.

Actually, bishops have received training about interviewing youth.  The Church has also published guidelines providing further clarification on "how the church responds to abuse"  (with an accompanying letter from the First Presidency).  Also consider From Section 7.4 of Handbook 1:

"Avoid all circumstances that could be misunderstood" probably means, most of the time, discussion of "things of a sexual nature."

Of course, sometimes the youth might bring such issues up.  Such matters can, and almost always are, handled by bishops with tact and decorum and dignity.   And sometimes such disclosures can be vitally important, such as when a youth discloses to the bishop that he or she has been or is being abused.

The issue here is how "inquisitorial" bishops should be.  Long wants bishops to be essentially McCarthy-esque, whereas Sam Young wants bishops to have no interviews at all, or else interviews with no discussion of anything remotely pertaining to sexual issues.

The Church's guidelines hew much closer to the Sam Young approach.  In contrast to Matt Long's characterization of bishop interviews (that they are "an invitation or a call for disclosures {about sexual abuse}," the purposes of such interviews are laid out in section 31.1.7.3 of the Handbook:

  • "Lead, teach and inspire youth."
  • "Teach about becoming disciples of the Savior."
  • "Help youth consider how well they are following the Savior and His teachings."
  • "Reaffirm each youth's limitless potential."
  • "Determine worthiness and {} help youth repent of transgressions."
  • "They encourage youth to talk rather than doing most of the talking."

See also section 31.1.7.5 ("Matters for Discussion") :

Proactively asking probing questions about possible sex abuse is not part of bishop interviews.  It is inaccurate for Long to characterize these interviews as "an invitation or a call for disclosures {about sexual abuse}."  That is not to say that issues pertaining to abuse cannot or do not come up in the course of such interviews.  That happens all the time.  But Long seems to be saying the interviews are, or should be, designed to ferret out whether abuse is taking place.  I have serious reservations about that.

Again, I'm not giving much credence to this story.  Multiple layers of hearsay, on top of which is the ax-grinding Matt Long.  He leaves out all sorts of details, too.  We're not getting the whole story here, I think.

It certainly is.  And yet Matt Long is being way reductionist about it.  The priest/penitent privilege is a biggie.  How inquisitive bishops should be is a huge factor.  What constitutes a "piecemeal" disclosure is quite hard to gauge.  But none of this matters.  Long reduces everything to: The Church is failing.  Bishops are failing.  They are bad and don't care about kids.  Not like Matt Long, who does care.

Yeesh.

Funny how Long never actually gets around to offering any concrete proposals about what this "training for bishops" would entail.

It's almost as if he's more interested in denigrating the Church and painting himself as the righteously-indignant Good Guy than in actually presenting ideas and proposals for the Church to improve.

Thanks,

-Smac

Long does not define bishop's interviews as calls for disclosures but rather he identifies an important characteristic of them as being calls for disclosures. That's a distinction you are missing.

Of course bishops interviews are more than that characteristic. Much more. But bishops should be prepared to address that part. He is not trying to make interviews what they are not, but rather a better version of what they are supposed to be. 

The better training would include specific teaching about the victimisation process and types of disclosures. (It might seem obvious to you but that is not the case for all adult male church members.) Does current bishop training you referenced do that?

He is talking about listening better. Why do you characterize that as a McCarthyesque approach?

The examples he gave are given as case studies to illustrate principles. The first principle is that bishops are not trained to recognise disclosures. That is already known. The value of the first case study is to help us visualise ways that lack of training impacts a situation of disclosure.

The second case study illustrates, among other things, that bishops are not trained to recognise the victimisation process. Also known. The example is not a proof, it is a "visual aid" of sorts to again help us see the impact of that lack of training in the pastoral process.

Matthew Long has likely had to examine ugliness none of us want to think about. I can forgive him some sanctimony and even a bit of bitterness. Mostly I can overlook those because his information has merit and could help bishops help victims.

FWIW, you seem to weigh heavily on his attitude about the church. The feeling regarding the church that he mostly expresses in this audio is frustration. But the overall theme, by far, in the talk is that of considering the situations of victims. And that is an important and very helpful perspective.

Edited by Meadowchik
Misplaced "not."
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17 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Okay.  I'm listening to you.  What is "the central point of the lecture?"

That bishops are not trained on the nature of the victimisation process or types of disclosures and thus are ill prepared to recognize either. This is important, right?

22 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Only by characterizing them as "victims" of the Church.

He says bishops are typically well-intentioned and want to know how to help victims better.

 

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19 minutes ago, MrShorty said:

I don't know how many listened to Jennifer Roach's FairMormon presentation last year, but among her defenses for the practice of one-on-one bishop-youth interviews was that these interviews provide opportunities for abuse to be disclosed (even if sometimes the disclosure is accidental). As an abuse survivor herself (at the hands of a youth pastor in her evangelical church, if I understand correctly), I think she might have some ideas that would help bishops and the rest of us.

Do you have a link to her presentation or a transcript of it?

That interviews are opportunities for bishops to help victims who disclose has been a frequent argument on this board. Matthew Long is providing information to help bishops do that better.

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45 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Well, maybe.  I'm not an idiot.  And I listened intently.  So what was the "most basic, fundamental point?"

"Sharing important information" via a rant in which he expresses rank hostility, negative and inaccurate stereotypes, and otherwise rants against and denigrates the Church?  While offering no particular recommendations or suggestions for the Church to improve?

I'm supposed to thank  him for this?  Seriously?

Well, sorta.  He used to be a prosecutor.  Now he's a criminal defense attorney (he's been representing Paul Petersen, you'll recall).  His job is about the law.  He has seen some ugly things.  So what?  So have I.  So have tens of thousands of other lawyers, therapists, law enforcement officers, and so on.  What privileges his opinions above theirs?

Now, if his rant had included constructive and meaningful and coherent recommendations for the Church to improve how it handles allegations of abuse, I would be singing a different tune.  As it is, however, he just spent an hour plus disparaging and insulting the Church, giving it nary a lick of credit for its efforts, and all the while touting himself as the Guy Who Cares About Victims (unlike the Church, which according to him is possibly malicious in its actions).

Thanks,

-Smac

Did he actively represent Peterson for the entire case to conviction? I saw that he made a statement for him in the initial stages of the case, but others did so subsequently. Not sure what point you make by stating this either way.

As far as I know, Long also represents abuse victims.

On that note, if abuse cases are not in your professional speciality, who would you recommend to Utah victims as prospective attorneys? Who would you recommend if a church leader was the accused or if church leaders might have been negligent in an abuse case?

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1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

Matthew Long has likely had to examine ugliness none of us want to think about. I can forgive him some sanctimony and even a bit of bitterness. Mostly I can overlook those because his information has merit and could help bishops help victims.

As a criminal defense lawyer, he may also be choosing to defend predators at times and gets paid for doing so, correct?  If so, while I believe criminals do have a right to counsel so that their rights are protected and I think it very important that all accused are represented so that the accusations of the  innocent are hopefully discovered as false, it seems if it was so ugly and heartbreaking for him to see what victims go through that we should forgive him any errors of bitterness or sanctimoniousness, that he would be solely actively working on the side of the victims and not possible predators, where he might be required to challenge the credibility of victims, further traumatize them as can occur in questioning. 

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49 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

Do you have a link to her presentation or a transcript of it?

I don't. I'm not sure how FairMormon likes to distribute video/audio/transcripts of their conference presentations, but I expect if you get a hold of someone at FairMormon (conference page: https://www.fairmormon.org/conference/2020-fairmormon-conference ), someone should be able to help you find a recording/transcript of her presentation.

55 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

That interviews are opportunities for bishops to help victims who disclose has been a frequent argument on this board. Matthew Long is providing information to help bishops do that better.

It seems to me that this has been a frequent argument in multiple internet and non-internet communities for a long time. Long is only one of many experts who have long weighed in on the issue. I will agree with those who say that Bishops should get better training in picking out abuse (though I don't think there is a flawless formulation for detecting abuse). I think it should include both detecting peer-peer abuse (seems like many of the examples in this thread have been peer-peer), (lay) adult-youth abuse, and (leader) adult-youth abuse, and how to prevent those (especially the leader adult-youth kind that the Church seems at least somewhat responsible for). A lot of that training should probably include when to report to law enforcement who are the alleged best at investigating (I have seen several arguments that the Church does not want to be in charge of investigating).

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7 minutes ago, MrShorty said:

I'm not sure how FairMormon likes to distribute video/audio/transcripts of their conference presentations,

The videos cost for the first year iirc and then get out on YouTube, transcripts are free but dependent on volunteers for transcribing. As far as I can tell this hasn’t been transcribed yet. I am not part of the transcription committee, so have no timeline. 

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2 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

Did he actively represent Peterson for the entire case to conviction?

I don't know.  

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I saw that he made a statement for him in the initial stages of the case, but others did so subsequently. Not sure what point you make by stating this either way.

Not much.  Just that's he's just another lawyer.  Just another guy.  His opinion is not based on any particular or unique training or experience.  

Gadzooks, did you listen to the three-minute monologue introducing?  He's painted as the second coming of Moses, Mother Theresa and Captain America rolled into one.  

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As far as I know, Long also represents abuse victims.

Good for him.

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On that note, if abuse cases are not in your professional speciality,

They are not.

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who would you recommend to Utah victims as prospective attorneys?

I wouldn't.  I would need to ask around.

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Who would you recommend if a church leader was the accused or if church leaders might have been negligent in an abuse case?

Same as above.  

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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2 hours ago, Meadowchik said:
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Okay.  I'm listening to you.  What is "the central point of the lecture?"

That bishops are not trained on the nature of the victimisation process or types of disclosures and thus are ill prepared to recognize either. This is important, right?

Well, sort of.  And I suppose I'm open to the idea of getting bishops some training in this.  But what training?  To what purpose?  And are there any risks?  Do we really want to train bishops to become McCarthy-esque with children regarding sex-related matters?  Doesn't he see how tricky and difficult that could be?  Does he care?  Or is he just interested in lambasting the Church, and so not particularly worried about getting into the nitty gritty?

Do teachers receive this sort of training?  If so, what is it? 

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Only by characterizing them as "victims" of the Church.

He says bishops are typically well-intentioned and want to know how to help victims better.

He also said that their "negligence" is functionally equivalent to being involved in a malicious cover-up of abuse.  And again, he sympathizes with them by characterizing them as victims.  Victims of the Church of Jesus Christ.

These are not the words of a person looking to help.  These are the words of a rabid anti-Mormon who despises the Church, who sees no good in it, and who is just smart enough to recognize the value of denigrating the institution by differentiating it from its constituent parts: its membership.  By saying, in essence "the Church is terrible, but its members are good."  Not because that is true, but because they are trying to draw people away from the Church.  John Dehlin and countless other anti-Mormons have used such rhetorical sleight-of-hand.  It didn't impress me then, and doesn't impress me now.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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3 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

Long does not define bishop's interviews as calls for disclosures

Actually, I think he does do that.  A few times, actually.

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but rather he identifies an important characteristic of them as being calls for disclosures. That's a distinction you are missing.

I'm not sure about that.  

And even then, I think he's wrong.  First of all, bishops have been given training about interviewing youth.  That training does not include parsing out a child's comments to see if they might include a "piecemeal disclosure."  

I laid out the purposes of bishop interviews here.  Proactively asking probing questions about possible sex abuse is not part of bishop interviews.  That appears to be a deliberate choice by the Church, and nothing Matt Long said has persuaded me otherwise.  To the contrary, he pretty much burned his own credibility by ranting against the Church for a solid hour, getting all emotional, failing to articulate any coherent proposals for improvement, etc.

Again, he seems like just another anti-Mormon bent on railing against the Church.  The topic from which he launches his rants is almost pretextual.  Like Sam Young's silliness or Jeremy Runnells absurd letter, or Kate Kelly's specious nonsense.  These sorts of anti-Mormons may start out having a topic on which they want to crusade, but they seem to end up hating the Church, and so weaponize the topic and exploit it to fuel that animus.  Yuck.

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Of course bishops interviews are more than that characteristic. Much more. But bishops should be prepared to address that part.

I dunno.  He seems to want the bishops to become McCarthy-esque.  He wants to impose on bishops the affirmative duty to ask questions designed to examine whether the child has been sexually abused.  He wants them to pounce on any comment that could be construed as a "piecemeal disclosure" of abuse.  Golly, what could possibly go wrong?

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He is not trying to make interviews what they are not, but rather a better version of what they are supposed to be. 

Well, it's hard to say what he is trying to do (apart from tearing down and denigrating the Church - he made that really obvious).  He offered no meaningful proposals for change or improvement.

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The better training would include specific teaching about the victimisation process and types of disclosures. (It might seem obvious to you but that is not the case for all adult male church members.) Does current bishop training you referenced do that?

I doubt it.  

Look, I'm open to the proposal.  But I am quite disappointed with how Matt Long is going about it.  You don't publicly insult and malign a religious group, try to work up an audience to resent and be angry at it, proverbially slap the group across the face five or six times, and then say "Oh, you don't understand!  I'm here to help you!  I just want you to improve!"  

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He is talking about listening better. Why do you characterize that as a McCarthyesque approach?

That's the vibe he's giving.  

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The examples he gave are given as case studies to illustrate principles. The first principle is that bishops are not trained to recognise disclosures. That is already known. The value of the first case study is to help us visualise ways that lack of training impacts a situation of disclosure.

Funny, that.  I thought the "value of the first case study" was to make the Church and the bishops look wholly incompetent, even malevolent and malicious.  

The "value" was making the Church look bad.  The "value" was goading the audience into anger and resentment against the Church.

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Matthew Long has likely had to examine ugliness none of us want to think about.

He's far from the only one.  But where others use their experiences to find ways to recommend improvements and change, he principally focuses on denigrating and maligning an unpopular religious group, on getting his audience to resent the Church.

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I can forgive him some sanctimony and even a bit of bitterness.

So can I.  But the sanctimony and bitterness sure do lessen his credibility and efficacy.  If he's looking to affect change and improvement, he's going about it in a pretty counter-productive way.

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Mostly I can overlook those because his information has merit and could help bishops help victims.

Meh.  His "information" was designed primarily to make the Church and its bishops look incompetent, corrupt, indifferent, callous, malicious or some combination of these.  To put the Church in the worst possible light.  To point to those horrible stories as prototypical examples of how the Church is handling abuse allegations.

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FWIW, you seem to weigh heavily on his attitude about the church.

Well, yes.  I think motives matter.  A lot.  So when someone presents himself as just wanting to "help," but then appears to have ulterior motives, I think that tends to detract from the notion that the "help" is really intended as such.

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The feeling regarding the church that he mostly expresses in this audio is frustration.

Well, I disagree.  I think he goes way beyond that.  

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But the overall theme, by far, in the talk is that of considering the situations of victims. And that is an important and very helpful perspective.

I disagree.  I think the "overall theme" was his dislike of the Church.  The Church is irredeemably bad.  It can do no right.  It is awful.  It doesn't care about kids.  It it either grossly negligent or malicious.  Meanwhile, he's kind.  He's good.  He's passionate.  He cares about his "kids" (yeesh, that did not come across well for me).  The Church refuses to do the right thing, "So I will," he says (two or three times).  

Sam Young.  Jeremy Runnells.  John Dehlin.  Matt Long.  These folks all mouth the same platitudes about how they love and are concerned about the members of the Church, but find the Church itself to be deplorable and evil.  I don't buy it.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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4 hours ago, LoudmouthMormon said:

Just wanted to make sure this stuff made it to this thread.  It's not exactly hard to find for anyone, and is required training for anyone dealing with church youth:

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/callings/church-safety-and-health/training-and-video-resources/youth-protection?lang=eng

Launch Training

Download summary of key principles

 

The old gripe was "there's no training".  The fallback gripe these days, apparently, is "bishops are not trained on the nature of the victimisation process or types of disclosures".    Up next: "Bishops do not follow [insert this or that particular named or branded type of training, from this or that professional organization]".

No matter what the church does, there will always be folks advancing criticisms.

 

My personal story:
- Back in 2007, a (nonLDS) in-law contacted us with a tragic accusation that her (non-LDS) minor child had been molested by an LDS relative.
- My wife and another relation to the accused contacted the police and told what we knew.
- I contacted the relative's bishop, who held a disciplinary council and excommunicated the guy.  At our request, the minor child didn't have to be interviewed, or even contacted about the issue.
- The Stake President contacted me with news of the excommunication, happy to have me be the 'go-between' between church and nonLDS mother/child.   He hoped news of the excommunication would help them to heal, and to know that the church took every action it could possibly take in the matter on behalf of the victim.  

 

 

That sounds like a fallacy. Instead of answering the question directly and explicitly, you say nothing will be enough.

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3 hours ago, smac97 said:

Actually, I think he does do that.  A few times, actually.

I'm not sure about that.  

And even then, I think he's wrong.  First of all, bishops have been given training about interviewing youth.  That training does not include parsing out a child's comments to see if they might include a "piecemeal disclosure."  

I laid out the purposes of bishop interviews here.  Proactively asking probing questions about possible sex abuse is not part of bishop interviews.  That appears to be a deliberate choice by the Church, and nothing Matt Long said has persuaded me otherwise.  To the contrary, he pretty much burned his own credibility by ranting against the Church for a solid hour, getting all emotional, failing to articulate any coherent proposals for improvement, etc.

Again, he seems like just another anti-Mormon bent on railing against the Church.  The topic from which he launches his rants is almost pretextual.  Like Sam Young's silliness or Jeremy Runnells absurd letter, or Kate Kelly's specious nonsense.  These sorts of anti-Mormons may start out having a topic on which they want to crusade, but they seem to end up hating the Church, and so weaponize the topic and exploit it to fuel that animus.  Yuck.

I dunno.  He seems to want the bishops to become McCarthy-esque.  He wants to impose on bishops the affirmative duty to ask questions designed to examine whether the child has been sexually abused.  He wants them to pounce on any comment that could be construed as a "piecemeal disclosure" of abuse.  Golly, what could possibly go wrong?

Well, it's hard to say what he is trying to do (apart from tearing down and denigrating the Church - he made that really obvious).  He offered no meaningful proposals for change or improvement.

I doubt it.  

Look, I'm open to the proposal.  But I am quite disappointed with how Matt Long is going about it.  You don't publicly insult and malign a religious group, try to work up an audience to resent and be angry at it, proverbially slap the group across the face five or six times, and then say "Oh, you don't understand!  I'm here to help you!  I just want you to improve!"  

That's the vibe he's giving.  

Funny, that.  I thought the "value of the first case study" was to make the Church and the bishops look wholly incompetent, even malevolent and malicious.  

The "value" was making the Church look bad.  The "value" was goading the audience into anger and resentment against the Church.

He's far from the only one.  But where others use their experiences to find ways to recommend improvements and change, he principally focuses on denigrating and maligning an unpopular religious group, on getting his audience to resent the Church.

So can I.  But the sanctimony and bitterness sure do lessen his credibility and efficacy.  If he's looking to affect change and improvement, he's going about it in a pretty counter-productive way.

Meh.  His "information" was designed primarily to make the Church and its bishops look incompetent, corrupt, indifferent, callous, malicious or some combination of these.  To put the Church in the worst possible light.  To point to those horrible stories as prototypical examples of how the Church is handling abuse allegations.

Well, yes.  I think motives matter.  A lot.  So when someone presents himself as just wanting to "help," but then appears to have ulterior motives, I think that tends to detract from the notion that the "help" is really intended as such.

Well, I disagree.  I think he goes way beyond that.  

I disagree.  I think the "overall theme" was his dislike of the Church.  The Church is irredeemably bad.  It can do no right.  It is awful.  It doesn't care about kids.  It it either grossly negligent or malicious.  Meanwhile, he's kind.  He's good.  He's passionate.  He cares about his "kids" (yeesh, that did not come across well for me).  The Church refuses to do the right thing, "So I will," he says (two or three times).  

Sam Young.  Jeremy Runnells.  John Dehlin.  Matt Long.  These folks all mouth the same platitudes about how they love and are concerned about the members of the Church, but find the Church itself to be deplorable and evil.  I don't buy it.

Thanks,

-Smac

No, it's objectively not his overall theme. 

The reality is that we are members of a shared community of LDS and LDS adjacent people and that shared community experiences what is often discord between believers and non-believers. Despite that, even the non-believing people can have information that can help everyone.

Non-believers including ex-Mormons and even those who at times oppose the church can have a positive role in the life of Mormonism, and more than just as an oppositional foil.

It's possible for believing LDS and even so-called "anti-Mormons" to work together to make the shared communities better. I'm glad that it happens despite attitudes like what you've expressed here.

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12 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

No, it's objectively not his overall theme. 

Funny how we can disagree about something that is supposedly "objective."

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The reality is that we are members of a shared community of LDS and LDS adjacent people and that shared community experiences what is often discord between believers and non-believers. Despite that, even the non-believing people can have information that can help everyone.

I have acknowledged that.  I have repeatedly said I am open to proposals for the Church to change and improve.

Where we disagree is Mr. Long's efforts to help the Church "change and improve."  I think he is principally interested in attacking the Church, in making it look bad, in persuading other people to dislike it.  Now, it may be that he is trying to use such methods to coerce the Church, to shame it, to bend it to his will.  We've seen this sort of thing before from Kate Kelly and Sam Young.  It hardly improves my assessment of him.  

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Non-believers including ex-Mormons and even those who at times oppose the church can have a positive role in the life of Mormonism, and more than just as an oppositional foil.

Mr. Long's rants against the Church, has public animosity, his vigorous efforts to disparage it and make people angry at it, is not something I would characterize as "a positive role in the life of Mormonism."

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It's possible for believing LDS and even so-called "anti-Mormons" to work together to make the shared communities better.

Sure.  But Mr. Long publicly denigrating the Church, fomenting ill will against it, is not something I would characterize as "work{ing} together to make the shared communities better."

Kate Kelly raised a few decent points.  So did Sam Young.  And yet I don't think they were looking for ways "to work together to make the shared communities better."

As I said previously: "Look, I'm open to the proposal {about training}.  But I am quite disappointed with how Matt Long is going about it.  You don't publicly insult and malign a religious group, try to work up an audience to resent and be angry at it, proverbially slap the group across the face five or six times, and then say 'Oh, you don't understand!  I'm here to help you!  I just want you to improve!'"

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I'm glad that it happens despite attitudes like what you've expressed here.

I'm curious what you are referencing here.  When have Anti-Mormons "work{ed} together" with the Church?

I think there are far more productive ways to help the Church change and improve.  I find the tactics employed by Long (and Kelly and Young before him) contemptible, and in some ways even counter-productive.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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2 hours ago, smac97 said:

Funny how we can disagree about something that is "objective."

I have acknowledged that.  I have repeatedly said I am open to proposals for the Church to change and improve.

Where we disagree is Mr. Long's efforts to help the Church "change and improve."  I think he is principally interested in attacking the Church, in making it look bad, in persuading other people to dislike it.  Now, it may be that he is trying to use such methods to coerce the Church, to shame it, to bend it to his will.  We've seen this sort of thing before from Kate Kelly and Sam Young.  It hardly improves my assessment of him.  

Mr. Long's rants against the Church, has public animosity, his vigorous efforts to disparage it and make people angry at it, is not something I would characterize as "a positive role in the life of Mormonism."

Sure.  But Mr. Long publicly denigrating the Church, fomenting ill will against it, is not something I would characterize as "work{ing} together to make the shared communities better."

Kate Kelly raised a few decent points.  So did Sam Young.  And yet I don't think they were looking for ways "to work together to make the shared communities better."

As I said previously: "Look, I'm open to the proposal {about training}.  But I am quite disappointed with how Matt Long is going about it.  You don't publicly insult and malign a religious group, try to work up an audience to resent and be angry at it, proverbially slap the group across the face five or six times, and then say 'Oh, you don't understand!  I'm here to help you!  I just want you to improve!'"

I'm curious what you are referencing here.  When have Anti-Mormons "work{ed} together" with the Church?

I think there are far more productive ways to help the Church change and improve.  I find the tactics employed by Long (and Kelly and Young before him) contemptible, and in some ways even counter-productive.

Thanks,

-Smac

I really don't agree with the accusation about antagonism in this lecture. He is frustrated, he is unhappy about the church system, but beyond that his information is genuinely helpful. That in my view is an act of good faith and imo should be taken based on its good merit. 

It's funny how you ask when (so-called) anti-Mormons work with the church to make it better when this is indeed an example, since you've labelled Long as an anti-Mormon. Any good dialogue that can help the church be better can help it retain members and help it continue. 

Matt Long, Kelly, Young, and even Dehlin (and many others) are different people with different approaches and offerings, and they have all made contributions and insight about how the church can improve. Those have included information that helps members find ways to continue, too.

Also, like I said before, those in the church and on the margins share a community. Those who help those on the margins help improve the whole community. Consider a podcaster that helps an exmo process their grief, who therefore helps them keep their marriage to a believing LDS intact. Likewise suggestions that help members keep their children safe in their LDS congregations are helping the church stay intact.

Matt Long is identifying problems and his lesson in this little lecture is important enough that it can help bishops better help victims. That is good for bishops and victims and is therefore good for the church.

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6 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

I really don't agree with the accusation about antagonism in this lecture.

Well, okay.  His effort to foment anger against the Church seems pretty obvious to me.

6 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

He is frustrated, he is unhappy about the church system, but beyond that his information is genuinely helpful.

He is frustrated, he is unhappy about the Church, and he is working very hard to make sure other people are unhappy and angry at the Church, too.

And he gave the Church no credit for its efforts to help in abuse matters.  None.  Not a smidge.

The information he provided is not "his."  It's out there for anyone who wants to look.  See for yourself.  He didn't discovery any of this, he didn't formulate or systematize it.  He's just purveying it.  And he's doing so with a long-winded rant against the Church and a self-aggrandizing narrative as means of distribution.

6 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

That in my view is an act of good faith and imo should be taken based on its good merit. 

Ah, well.  If you were the target of his venom, you might be a bit more skeptical.

I have personal experience with the Church's efforts in addressing allegations of abuse.  My experience has been quite different from his.  And to the extent he has some meritorious recommendations for improvement, he didn't really provide any.  

6 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

It's funny how you ask when (so-called) anti-Mormons work with the church to make it better when this is indeed an example, since you've labelled Long as an anti-Mormon.

I don't understand.  Are you citing Long as an example of an Anti-Mormon who has "work{ed} with the Church?"  

6 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

Any good dialogue that can help the church be better can help it retain members and help it continue. 

He vilified and denigrated the Church, sought to rile up the audience into anger against it, juxtaposed the Church against his own "I care about the kids" bona fides, and so on.

Long presented no "dialogue." 

6 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

Matt Long, Kelly, Young, and even Dehlin (and many others) are different people with different approaches and offerings, and they have all made contributions and insight about how the church can improve.

A husband can have "contributions and insight" into how his wife could improve.  But what if he chose to convey those by publicly slandering and insulting her?  Humiliating her in front of family and friends?  Trying to turn people against her?  Would that, in your view, be a "good faith" approach?

6 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

Also, like I said before, those in the church and on the margins share a community. Those who help those on the margins help improve the whole community.

Sorry, but I don't think Dehlin, Kelly, Young and now Long are interested in "improv{ing} the whole community."  They are seeking to tear down the Church, to harm it, to turn people against it.

Thanks,

-Smac

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1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

It's funny how you ask when (so-called) anti-Mormons work with the church to make it better when this is indeed an example, since you've labelled Long as an anti-Mormon

Telling someone what to do or lecturing them is not working with them.

 

At the very least a working relationship requires an agreement on how communication will occur.  There has been no agreement here between the two on what the relationship is, let alone what communication style is acceptable to both.

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Matt Long is identifying problems and his lesson in this little lecture is important enough that it can help bishops better help victims. 

Does he have a degree and/or professional training in this area (should be more family therapy/development than family law surely)?  If not, seems like it would be better to seek out professional input to avoid amateur errors as well as gaps in knowledge.  Often non-professionals may have good ideas, but they do not know how to incorporate them into actual practice.  They are also not trained in the field’s form of analysis and may make mistakes if they apply their training in analysis to the subjects.  My dad, for example, at times treated family in the same way he treated business partners when engaging in projects with us.  It rarely turned out as he intended because it wasn’t the same type of dynamics or communications.

Edited by Calm
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19 hours ago, smac97 said:

Well, sort of.  And I suppose I'm open to the idea of getting bishops some training in this.  But what training?  To what purpose?  And are there any risks?  Do we really want to train bishops to become McCarthy-esque with children regarding sex-related matters?  Doesn't he see how tricky and difficult that could be?  Does he care?  Or is he just interested in lambasting the Church, and so not particularly worried about getting into the nitty gritty?

It is odd that some of the same posters that have previously demanded that church leaders never ask any question related to sexuality for fear of them causing trauma now want them trained to ask probing questions in certain situations.

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The church has responded and said that "The claim that the church has had access to the BSA ineligible volunteer files for many decades is simply false". 

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/mormon-church-sued-for-allegedly-covering-up-boy-scouts-sex-abuse-in-arizona/

92,000 means the bsa is dead though.  I thought the church keeps confidential all of its files and annotations and I don't believe it will ever disclose what these files say.  When I was in a bishopric it was a black binder filled with confessions which were passed down from bishop to bishop.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, blueglass said:

The church has responded and said that "The claim that the church has had access to the BSA ineligible volunteer files for many decades is simply false". 

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/mormon-church-sued-for-allegedly-covering-up-boy-scouts-sex-abuse-in-arizona/

92,000 means the bsa is dead though.  I thought the church keeps confidential all of its files and annotations and I don't believe it will ever disclose what these files say.  When I was in a bishopric it was a black binder filled with confessions which were passed down from bishop to bishop.

They are all electronic now. After a membership council is reported as recorded they want you to destroy any physical notes and delete all digital files. Bishops and Stake Presidents (only) can later access the notes to help with the repentance process.

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8 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

They are all electronic now. After a membership council is reported as recorded they want you to destroy any physical notes and delete all digital files. Bishops and Stake Presidents (only) can later access the notes to help with the repentance process.

With clergy penitent privilege the notes kept as annotations confidentially for bishops and stake presidents are not be released under any circumstance.  I think even a court could not order release of these records?  Not sure though.  My understanding is that from state to state the duty was to report if the confessor discloses intentions to commit a crime, or there is danger to someone in the home.  When I was serving on the HC after a related disciplinary council related to a sexual abuse KM counseled to not report to authorities.  After abuse training I asked during one of our council meeting if our SP had ever disagreed with KM's counsel he being an attorney himself.  He said yes.  It was  related to child sex abuse, he felt it was a duty to disclose to authorities to protect the child in the home.  My trust for this SP was increased 4x after this meeting. 

Edited by blueglass
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12 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

They are all electronic now. After a membership council is reported as recorded they want you to destroy any physical notes and delete all digital files. Bishops and Stake Presidents (only) can later access the notes to help with the repentance process.

annotations should transfer with the membership record transfer, but what if it was past abuse protected under penitent privilege? 

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5 hours ago, blueglass said:

annotations should transfer with the membership record transfer, but what if it was past abuse protected under penitent privilege? 

If there was a membership council associated with the annotation (very likely) it would be there. I am not sure if the notes are something the leader has to request or if access is automatic. Other then that I believe the only people who can see anything in the system are clerks and bishopric counselors who can see ongoing confidential actions and current confidential status but they won’t have access to know what the action was for (unless they were there of course).

The annotation also prevents you from putting that person into SOME callings. Getting the annotation removed requires an appeal to the First Presidency.

Edit: Realized I forgot to put "some" in there.

Edited by The Nehor
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15 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

It is odd that some of the same posters that have previously demanded that church leaders never ask any question related to sexuality for fear of them causing trauma now want them trained to ask probing questions in certain situations.

Well, yes.   For example in August 2019 Meadowchik said this about Sam Young:

Quote

When adults make children feel like they have special access to them without warranted cause, they make it easier for others to have special access and take advantage of it. This is why organisations working with children can attract predators because the predators want the access.

It is very easy in the church to feel overly familiar with each other, and to feel like we are entitled to emotional and informational intimacy about each other, when we aren't. One thing I've learned interacting with kind people, especially those outside the church, is that it is generally impolite to ask probing questions of anybody. Such intimacy is earned and even when esteem is earned, such intimacy is still not always appropriate.

Um, isn't Matt Long faulting the Church for not "ask{ing} probing questions"?

And here:

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That's the rub, in my opinion. With a medical professional, for example, who may have cause to ask any number of probing questions to provide healthcare, there are still appropriate questions and behaviors. Teaching doesn't necessarily require the teacher to ask personal questions. Guidance can be offered, too, without asking probing questions. And friendship is a reciprocal relationship. 

Frankly, this to me is a difficult subject to articulate, because we're already trained in the church to share and expect too much information. What is perhaps unnecessary for teaching, guidance, and friendship is considered normal in the church. 

Again, it seems like Matt Long is faulting the Church for not "ask{ing} personal questions."

And here:

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Perhaps you're reading to much in between the lines, or perhaps you underestimate the damage of sitting in a room with a spiritual authority, then submitting to ANY question pertaining to your sexual activity. I know it is accepted as normal in the church, but being the norm doesn't make it good.

This sounds like Meadow is critical of the idea of children "submitting to ANY question pertaining to your sexual activity," which seems rather at odds with Matt Long's criticisms.

She also says this:

Quote
Quote

But they can't talk about sexual things with them, right?  It's wrong for an adult to talk about it to a teen. That's what I get from you.

I think an adult can responsibly listen and then pass on reports of sexual abuse, but a competent organisation will provide adequate training so the leader can recognize and respond to a report. 

I'd say, let's not conflate that with the adult actually requiring a minor to confide sexual information. Even a yes/no to the law of chastity question is confusing sexual information. That's why a self-evaluate answer yes/no to ALL the questions would be imo more appropriate. Add on one "do you feel comfortable attending the temple at this time," to help buffer the minor's privacy.

Why, cuz it's not the church's business to require the information and never was.

I dunno.  Meadow, what are you saying here?  

And here and here:

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I have spoken to non-anonymous people, many who experienced secondary trauma during the "confession." They include children reporting sexual abuse, children reporting innocent, normal sexual curiousity, teens and adults confessing sexual sin, teens reporting rape and incest, wives reporting rape and spousal infidelity,....all in some way experiencing inappropriate, damaging responses.

Even if the policy says one thing, the training is little or nothing, interviews given broad leeway on the details of how to approach. Add to that teachings that shame victims and treat sex as next to murder, and with some insensitive if well-intentioned leaders, there is high potential for damage.
...
By secondary trauma, I mean that the interviewer further inflicted trauma, not simply by listening, but by being a knucklehead or worse in their response.

Meadow, don't you think Matt Long's approach - might end up creating more of this sort of "secondary trauma"?  

And here:

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I think it is clear that church leaders not requiring minors to answer questions about their sexual experiences, even the general chastity question, is better than doing so.

Again, this seems sort of at odds with what Matt Long is saying.

And this:

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 I am not the only person who had these thoughts as a child. And btw, maybe you haven't been in primary with very inquisitive children? It can get pretty intense with their questions.

And it is not a "declare victory" statement. Adults in polite society simply don't do this, it is creepy, it is inappropriate: imagine asking someone else's kid in a social context if they live the law of chastity.

Well?  In 2019 you are saying that a bishop asking a child "if they live the law of chastity" is "creepy" and "inappropriate," and that "{a}dults in polite society simply don't do this.

Fast forward to 2021, you are lauding Matt Long, who is vilifying the Church for not training its bishops to ask children probing questions about possible sexual abuse.  Doesn't that seem a bit inconsistent?

And here:

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I've specifically talked about the problem of adults questioning minors about their sexual experiences. Not to put too fine a point on it, this is not the same as an adult talking to a child about sex.  Children need to hear about sex, and how their bodies work. They need to know about what is safe and unsafe. They need to know about respecting their own bodies and others' bodies. They need to know about expecting respect from others.

Of course, parents educating their children about these things can help them develop in health with this information. 

I educate my children on these things. However, I have never asked any of my children if they masturbate, I do not ask an older child if she's kissed her boyfriend. I do not try to pry into their sexual experiences. If they have questions, I will answer and try to help them, but never as if I have a right to know their private, personal experience. I have not had to deal with children "playing doctor" with other children, but I would make it clear that crossing such a boundary is not okay. 

I have a teen who dates. We have house rules about conduct when her boyfriend visits. I am not naive enough to think that my rules alone can protect her from disease, unplanned pregnancy, or aggression. I do not assume that she just won't be sexually active just because she does not intend to be or does not want to be at the moment. So, we talk about these things. I do not probe or ask her if she has broken the law of chastity. What I do is try to help her be healthy and educated, try to be someone she can come to if she does need help, try to set firm boundaries to help her stay safe.

In 2019 Meadow was saying that "adults questioning minors about their sexual experiences" was a "problem."  She said she does not "probe or ask her {teen daughter} if she has broken the law of chastity."  Meadow, if you had qualms with you asking your own daughter about whether she's keeping the law of chastity, how on earth can you now be on board with Matt Long's proposal for the Church to train its bishops to "probe" for possible sexual abuse?

And here:

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Regarding masturbation, it is considered a sin in the church, the church directly tells the youth so in its materials for the youth. Therefore, when the bishop asks the chastity question all alone, he is implicitly asking the minor if they masturbate. If the bishop chooses to ask follow-up questions, they will tend to identify whether the minor masterbates or has committed some other act forbidden by the church. This is not libellous fiction, it is part and parcel of the doctrine, policy, and practice of the church. As I will elaborate further to Bluebell, this framework maintained by the church impacts the privacy, and therefore safety, of minor children in the church.

I don't get it.  A bishop asking "Do you keep the Law of Chastity" is out-of-bounds and potentially "impacts the ... safety of minor children in the Church," but a bishop asking a series of probing questions trying to find out about possible sexual abuse (as Matt Long is advocating) is find and dandy?

And here:

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That said, the reason I connect bishop interviews to milestones is because of the systemic nature of the church as it relates to grooming and sexual abuse. There are predators everywhere, even among church leadership, but (not to downplay its seriousness but) even if there weren't, the bishop interviews as they stand create easier opportunities for predators outside of the leadership and outside of the bishop's office. A bishop interview normalizes the act of an adult asking a minor about intimate personal aspects of their life, and can, by design, lead to asking intimate details, too. Thus, that minor is being taught that it is okay, under some circumstances, to share that private information with adults. This nuanced boundary can make it more difficult for a minor to identify boundary violations.  Therefore, a child growing up in the church, following its traditional path, will become conditioned to accept nuanced personal boundaries.  That's why I do not pry, as a mother. I want my children to know that their personal sexuality is inviolate, and I want those mental warning flags to wave fiercely in their minds if their boundaries are being violated.

A bishop asking "do you keep the Law of Chastity" amounts to "normaliz{ing} the act of an adult asking a minor about intimate personal aspects of their life, and can, by design, lead to asking intimate details, too."  Um, wouldn't training bishops to ask kids about possible sex abuse also do this?  Perhaps even to a much greater degree?

You say that, for your children, "their personal sexuality is inviolate," and that any questions from a bishop about that should cause "those mental warning flags to wave fiercely."  I can certainly respect that position, but then why are you praising Matt Long, who is railing against the Church for not training its bishops to ask probing questions about possible sexual abuse?

And here:

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If the "good" people are crossing their personal boundaries, it can be more difficult to identify people with bad intent." It's one thing to talk about such bodily functions theoretically and openly, it is another to pry into someone's personal details of their own sexuality.

Um, isn't Matt Long's primary grievance that bishops are not "pry{ing} into someone's personal details" about sex-related matters? 

I am utterly confident that Meadowchik is acting in good faith (I am far less certain about Matt Long), but the foregoing statements create some real confusion for me.

Thanks,

-Smac

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