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“I Can’t Do This to My Bishop”


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Dear bishops and former bishops,

When major stuff happens in my life and I need to talk to my bishop, I either don’t or I wait too long, especially if the bishop is new. 
 

I find myself thinking, “I can’t do this to my bishop.” I think about everything else he is dealing with in the ward, his own family, how perhaps he will feel stressed out because he doesn’t know what to do, etc..

For example, when I had a brand new bishop, a woman in our ward had started basically stalking me and I just felt like I didn’t want to burden him with that issue. I also felt like maybe he wouldn’t understand and tell me I just needed to love her or something. I told our Relief Society president after the woman yelled at me on my answering machine for getting a ride with someone other than her and it took her a while to get it. She initially took it as gossiping despite my distressed tone of voice. 🤦‍♀️ Finally she said, “Ohhhhh... this is like an ex-boyfriend trying to get his girlfriend back.”

We just got a new bishop and our old bishop told the pedophile in our ward not to contact me ever for any reason and now that we have a new bishop, he called me on the phone about doing a musical number. I am furious and my husband has offered to talk to the bishop about it, but my stomach is in knots feeling like it’s going to ruin his day as he hears about our experiences with him.

With our previous bishop, I had very long talks with him about it and it obviously put him in a very difficult position. When a new thing came up, it got harder and harder to tell him. 
 

Any advise, bishops?

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10 minutes ago, MorningStar said:

We just got a new bishop and our old bishop told the pedophile in our ward not to contact me ever for any reason and now that we have a new bishop, he called me on the phone about doing a musical number.

It took me a while to figure out that it was the pedo ,who was not the new bishop, that called you. Now that I have it correct, is this not a matter for police, not the bishop? 

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51 minutes ago, strappinglad said:

It took me a while to figure out that it was the pedo ,who was not the new bishop, that called you. Now that I have it correct, is this not a matter for police, not the bishop? 

Presumably there isn’t enough evidence to do anything or the crime was punished and he has been released. It seems to be general knowledge.

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2 hours ago, strappinglad said:

It took me a while to figure out that it was the pedo ,who was not the new bishop, that called you. Now that I have it correct, is this not a matter for police, not the bishop? 

This is more stalking behaviour that is not at a level to be illegal.  There is no restraining order as MS was proactive to prevent a crime with her family and ward imo and if iirc (I know a bit about it in the past). The guy is pushing the limits that the previous bishop put in place after MS was able to convince him there was an issue and the predator claiming he had repented and changed his life was a mask and giving him the benefit of the doubt was not protecting his past victims nor potential ones. 
 

I personally think it better to tell the bishop upfront and give him a written list of the limits you were aware the previous bishop had in place, especially those beyond standard, no brainer church policy like him being banned from hanging around Primary. I can’t remember if your bishop had ended up having him escorted when at church or not.

Better and less stressful imo for the bishop to get in and deal with it before someone gets hurt and then the bishop has to bear the pain and regret of wondering if he could have prevented it if he had acted earlier.  Also it is possible that if the predator is given a little slack at the beginning, it will be harder to pull him back behind the lines...especially knowing how he kept testing the limits in the past and here he is testing one by calling you. Letting the predator know nothing has changed is the best for all to save pain and hassle for them down the line...even if it means more stress now. 
 

Hopefully it will mean a little effort and time for the bishop now even if it increases his worry about things he needs to keep track of. So much better than having to invest a lot of time and effort later.

Edited by Calm
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Morningstar, I would pay an attorney (your state may have a list of pro bono attys who wouldn't charge you much) to tell him that he is never to contact you again for any reason, that he knows he is not allowed to do that because the former bishop told him not to, and that any further contact or coming within 50 feet of you will get a report of stalking to the police.

And I wouldn't be talking to the new bishop.  I'd be asking the former bishop if he knows why the guy now thinks he can --- maybe it was just something he forgot to pass on or emphasize to the guy before he left.

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1 hour ago, rpn said:

Morningstar, I would pay an attorney (your state may have a list of pro bono attys who wouldn't charge you much) to tell him that he is never to contact you again for any reason, that he knows he is not allowed to do that because the former bishop told him not to, and that any further contact or coming within 50 feet of you will get a report of stalking to the police.

And I wouldn't be talking to the new bishop.  I'd be asking the former bishop if he knows why the guy now thinks he can --- maybe it was just something he forgot to pass on or emphasize to the guy before he left.

Going to the old bishop and asking him what information he passed on to the new bishop about this guy, and letting him know that he's contacting you again, is probably a really good idea.  It might make you feel better to know that you won't have to start the new bishop from scratch because the old one already filled him in. 

Plus, you'll have one more person in the loop on how he's contacting you again and who can back you up to the new bishop on how that's not supposed to happen.

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Thank you, everyone. It’s a complicated situation. Our new bishop implied that there are some “memory problems”, so we suspect he now has the beginnings of dementia, but I’m not sure I believe he forgot he wasn’t supposed to contact me. If anything, this is all the more reason he should have an escort when we resume all of our meetings again in case he forgets other important things. 🙄

Mainly I just want to say that I don’t know how bishops handle all of the stuff they deal with for years on end. I hate adding to their burden. 

 

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While dementia can cause sexual deviant behaviours, I would be very skeptical of someone who had in the past not controlled himself suddenly using the excuse of dementia. He was iirc plenty crazy at times beforehand when posting stuff on FB, correct?

Push for his getting an escort if the bishop says it is dementia causing it. That implies even less self control than before even if he isn’t fully accountable for the behaviours. It doesn’t mean he is less capable of offending at this point, but more. And It isn’t going to matter to his victims that he has dementia while he is abusing them any more than if someone does it while bing drunk or high. 

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32 minutes ago, Calm said:

While dementia can cause sexual deviant behaviours, I would be very skeptical of someone who had in the past not controlled himself suddenly using the excuse of dementia. He was iirc plenty crazy at times beforehand when posting stuff on FB, correct?

Push for his getting an escort if the bishop says it is dementia causing it. That implies even less self control than before even if he isn’t fully accountable for the behaviours. It doesn’t mean he is less capable of offending at this point, but more. And It isn’t going to matter to his victims that he has dementia while he is abusing them any more than if someone does it while bing drunk or high. 

The one who wrote crazy rants was a different pervert, but the one with supposed dementia was actually arrested for child p and admitted to other things before dementia. There should be great concern about him “forgetting” many things. 

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1 hour ago, MorningStar said:

The one who wrote crazy rants was a different pervert, but the one with supposed dementia was actually arrested for child p and admitted to other things before dementia. There should be great concern about him “forgetting” many things. 

Yeh, dementia doesn’t make elders childlike so much as childish.  And an adult with childish self control (meaning eventually little to none lasting), probably paranoia (a symptom of dementia) which means more lying (my mom who never lied in her last few years would tell me she would do something intending not to do it; she told my sister in law when I left the room she wasn’t going to because she didn’t have to) and attempts to hide stuff, and less understanding  of consequences, AND a history of child porn...dangerous combination since sexuality is likely going to be expressed with his ‘normal’ attraction, pedophilia.

Edited by Calm
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13 hours ago, MorningStar said:

Thank you, everyone. It’s a complicated situation. Our new bishop implied that there are some “memory problems”, so we suspect he now has the beginnings of dementia, but I’m not sure I believe he forgot he wasn’t supposed to contact me. If anything, this is all the more reason he should have an escort when we resume all of our meetings again in case he forgets other important things. 🙄

Mainly I just want to say that I don’t know how bishops handle all of the stuff they deal with for years on end. I hate adding to their burden. 

 

I'm not sure if you've done this, or how right it is, but I'm wondering if you've faced him and told him to leave you alone. I've mentioned before on this board of my daughter being abused by a neighbor, and to this day I wish I would have confronted him in person. But this may not be the right thing for you, but I just wondered if you were to do this that he may shrink with his tail between his legs and leave you alone. And get your power back. 

I'd imagine how scary this could be. I was stalked in my younger years from someone that came in my work place, he even window peaked after finding out where I lived. And called me incessantly. He saw my number and address on a wall somehow, that my manager had for reference. 

Coming home from a date, I lived in a manufactured home that I rented from my parents, was a ladder, didn't belong to me, on the side of my place and he must have been on it, but saw us pulling up and took off. 

I hope this dude gets out of your life soon. I can imagine how your husband must feel, well, all of you feel, especially you. 

 

Edited by Tacenda
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14 hours ago, MorningStar said:

Thank you, everyone. It’s a complicated situation. Our new bishop implied that there are some “memory problems”, so we suspect he now has the beginnings of dementia, but I’m not sure I believe he forgot he wasn’t supposed to contact me. 

 

Here they go again with the excuse making for this perv. I remember the long list the former bishop gave you rather than taking it seriously. He has memory problems but can access your phone number and make a perfectly lucid phone message, eh? It might be believable if he forgot he called you and did it repeatedly, asking the same question. That is usually how Alzheimers starts (my mother had it.)

If they believe this has to do with Alzheimers then they need more restrictive rules not less (which is what you are being expected to accept.)  On the bright side, you can block all his numbers. 

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4 hours ago, Tacenda said:

I'm not sure if you've done this, or how right it is, but I'm wondering if you've faced him and told him to leave you alone. I've mentioned before on this board of my daughter being abused by a neighbor, and to this day I wish I would have confronted him in person. But this may not be the right thing for you, but I just wondered if you were to do this that he may shrink with his tail between his legs and leave you alone. And get your power back. 

I'd imagine how scary this could be. I was stalked in my younger years from someone that came in my work place, he even window peaked after finding out where I lived. And called me incessantly. He saw my number and address on a wall somehow, that my manager had for reference. 

Coming home from a date, I lived in a manufactured home that I rented from my parents, was a ladder, didn't belong to me, on the side of my place and he must have been on it, but saw us pulling up and took off. 

I hope this dude gets out of your life soon. I can imagine how your husband must feel, well, all of you feel, especially you. 

 

The only times I see him in person are at church and we haven't gone since March. I'm not worried about him doing anything to me, but when he doesn't "remember" to keep the rules, it stresses me out that he's acting out in other ways. I'm so sorry you went through that!

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3 hours ago, juliann said:

Here they go again with the excuse making for this perv. I remember the long list the former bishop gave you rather than taking it seriously. He has memory problems but can access your phone number and make a perfectly lucid phone message, eh? It might be believable if he forgot he called you and did it repeatedly, asking the same question. That is usually how Alzheimers starts (my mother had it.)

If they believe this has to do with Alzheimers then they need more restrictive rules not less (which is what you are being expected to accept.)  On the bright side, you can block all his numbers. 

A couple weeks ago he was supposed to do a musical number for our Zoom devotional and lots of us were wondering, "What the heck is he doing?" because he stood there practicing with his camera on until it was time for his number. Another time in sacrament he forgot to sit down after he conducted and stood there until the bishop mouthed at him that he could sit down, so I do think there is something going on there, but I also believe he tries to see what he can get away with when someone new is in charge. I will make sure rules are enforced for him when regular church resumes. 

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18 hours ago, Ginger Snaps said:

FWIW, my husband is currently serving as bishop.
 

I would bounce that ball right back to the bishop. “Ok, so if he’s now having memory issues, what is your plan for keeping ward members safe and undisturbed?”  And escalate to the Stake Pres if it’s not handled. There are absolutely protocols and avenues for handling these things. 
 

Bishops are put in hard positions, yes. Part of the calling, comes with the territory. And yes, they are human and new bishops are definitely climbing a steep learning curve, and we should grant them some grace.  That being said, YOU are not the one adding to the bishop’s burden. The person doing the boundary stomping is the one adding to his burden. You have the right to feel safe attending your ward. 

Thank you so much! Everything I've dealt with over the last three years is a very long story. I started attending another ward in addition to my own so I could feel peace in sacrament meeting. I've gotten to the point that I hate the sight of him and pandemic church was a relief. 

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Maybe it's the hillbilly in me but I would have this very unambiguous conversation.

"If you call me again, i will get a handgun. If you come to my house, I will shoot you. Please be a dear and tell me you believe me."

Okay, so it's not just me. A lot of people in my ward would handle it this way. It's kind of a rural here.

Oh and while I'm bursting with opinion, I have one of those In-My-Experience things to offer: Regarding complex personal issues, people in authority are rarely helpful in a meaningful and effective way.

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8 minutes ago, Chum said:

Regarding complex personal issues, people in authority are rarely helpful in a meaningful and effective way

So true.

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21 hours ago, Chum said:

... Regarding complex personal issues, people in authority are rarely helpful in a meaningful and effective way.

 

21 hours ago, bsjkki said:

So true.

I'm not referring to MorningStar's specific case.  Certainly, that's among the most difficult things any member, or any bishop, can face.  Speaking generally, however, too many of us want to fault our leaders for "fail[ing] to help in meaningful, effective ways" when it comes to things with which we have been living in our own skin for ... as long as we've been living in our own skin, we've been ruminating over our own problems for as long as we've been ruminating over our own problems, and we've been trying to slay our own demons for as long as we've been trying to slay our own demons. 

A fifteen-minute, or thirty-minute, or forty-five minute appointment (or even a series of them) with even the most competent, caring, dedicated ecclesiastical leader only can do so much when it comes to problems that we, ourselves, have been dealing with for years, decades, and entire lives.  And then too many of us fault those leaders: "All he did was tell me to pay, read, pray, and obey! :(:angry:"  Or we don't like the counsel for some other reason: "He just doesn't understand!"

Really, all he can do, and it's the best thing he can do, is point you back to The Source.

Edited by Kenngo1969
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10 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

 

I'm not referring to MorningStar's specific case.  Certainly, that's among the most difficult things any member, or any bishop, can face.  Speaking generally, however, too many of us want to fault our leaders for "fail[ing] to help in meaningful, effective ways" when ti comes to things with which we have been living in our own skin for ... as long as we've been living in our own skin, we've been ruminating over our own problems for as long as we've been ruminating over our own problems, and we've been trying to slay our own demons for as long as we've been trying to slay our own demons. 

A fifteen-minute, or thirty-minute, or forty-five minute appointment (or even a series of them) with even the most competent, caring, dedicated ecclesiastical leader only can do so much when it comes to problems that we, ourselves, have been dealing with for years, decades, and entire lives.  And then too many of us fault those leaders: "All he did was tell me to pay, read, pray, and obey! :(:angry:"  Or we don't like the counsel for some other reason: "He just doesn't understand!"

Really, all he can do, and it's the best thing he can do, is point you back to The Source.

I think people should realize this and not run to the Bishop expecting him to fix problems.

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24 minutes ago, bsjkki said:

I think people should realize this and not run to the Bishop expecting him to fix problems.

When the Lord is considering a new bishop, I am grateful to be seen wanting. For folks closer to home, my ponytail helps steer their opinion. It's cheaper than face tats.

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3 hours ago, Chum said:

When the Lord is considering a new bishop, I am grateful to be seen wanting. For folks closer to home, my ponytail helps steer their opinion. It's cheaper than face tats.

When my cousin was called as a bishop, before the meeting when he received the call, he put a can of chew, a pack of cigarettes, and a beer in his briefcase and took it, along with its newly-packed contents, to the meeting.  I'm not sure at what point all of this went down, but he put the briefcase on the desk and started taking all of its contents out.  He said, "Now, I don't use any of this stuff ... but I could."  It didn't work.  He was called anyway.  (Maybe a ponytail would have helped ... ?) :D:rofl::D Me?  Long ago, I hit on the absolutely foolproof method of avoiding being called as a Bishop ... what with that whole "husband-of-one-wife" thingy*, and all.

*No, I'm not a polygamist.  As I've said on the Board so many times before, Ya hafta monog before ya kin polyg!  ;):D

P.S.:  My brother hasn't been so ... ummm, lucky.  (In fact, he's been both a bishop and a stake president ...)  The first night he had appointments, he went home and told his wife, "Rita, let's just be grateful for our problems!" ;)

Edited by Kenngo1969
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13 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Long ago, I hit on the absolutely foolproof method of avoiding being called as a Bishop ... what with that whole "husband-of-one-wife" thingy*

I forgot about that. I'm still working on my first divorce so Woohoo! Bonus upon bonus.

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3 hours ago, Chum said:

I forgot about that. I'm still working on my first divorce so Woohoo! Bonus upon bonus.

I'm sorry for the family difficulties you're experiencing.  They may not be any laughing matter, but, in my opinion, you'll come out ahead if you can laugh about them anyway.  Best wishes.

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On 1/23/2021 at 8:08 PM, Kenngo1969 said:

I'm sorry for the family difficulties you're experiencing.

No worries. The difficulties mostly ended when she left.

I feel it's important to say that there is no acrimony between us. Her challenges mostly lie beyond her control; the kids and I get that.

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