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No More Mr. Nice Guy

A few years ago, when I lived in Eagle Mountain (aka: The Quirky Burg, Waldenville, and Idiot Voterville), a guy was convicted for sexually abusing his teenage stepdaughter. When he was released from prison and ignoring a court-issued restraining order the mother (!!!) brought the perp back into her home where the victim still lived.

It was more important to her that she had a bed partner than that she protect her daughter.

At the same time, the perp served as a coach for the Eagle Mountain city league girls’ soccer. He had no assistant coach and no supervision. The mother never spoke up about possible problems with him coaching young tween and teen girls.

It was more important for her to have a bed partner than to protect a big bunch of young girls.

Within a short time, the perp drove to Willowcreek Middle School, checked his 13-year-old stepdaughter out, took her home, and raped her. Then he got in his car, drove to State Road 73, and rammed his car in to an oncoming cement mixer. He died instantly.

How did the woman’s ward respond to this incident? They redecorated the mother’s house.

I’m all for compassion and love and helping those in need. But are you serious? How about some compassion and love and care for the children that this woman ignored to serve her own “needs”?

There is sometimes an odd, misplaced sense of “being nice” among Mormons. We want to be sweet and gentle and cheery and happy, even while really awful things are happening. And we seem to do so without the acknowledgment that sometimes the appearance of “niceness” means ignoring serious issues.

When we ignore serious issues, there are awful real victims that aren’t being protected. In this case it was the children. Rather than redecorating the mother’s home, the ward should have redecorated the daughter’s room in a house far away from her mother.

{ 64 comments… add one }

  • ChanJo October 1, 2008, 1:33 am

    Great insights. We think nice is good, but sometimes it’s really just being a coward.

  • Sharilee10 October 1, 2008, 9:29 am

    Unfortunately things like this happen more than we’d like to admit. I have an acquaintance who is in a similar situation. She hasn’t taken the man back into her home, but she continues to get together with him elsewhere, and brings him to the house when the girls aren’t there. She thinks the girls don’t know, but of course they do! What message does that send to her daughters? All we can do at this point is be there for the girls and do everything we can to help them.

    Unfortunately, I’m afraid this woman will find that as soon as the girls are on their own, SHE will be 100% on her own. She has chosen the man who abused her daughters over her daughters, and they won’t forget that quickly. It’s sad.

  • mandyp October 1, 2008, 9:39 am

    I also think that part of the problem is that if we’re not “nice” we are judged by others around us. I agree that often the people who recieve the most help are the ones who don’t deserve it. Usually the victims just get pushed to the side. How sad!

  • Ray October 1, 2008, 11:49 am

    “Rather than redecorating the mother ?s home, the ward should have redecorated the daughter ?s room in a house far away from her mother.”

    Just want to add an, “AMEN!” to that statement. If you haven’t listened to Martina McBride’s “Independence Day” recently, I recommend it.

    Everybody talked, but everybody looked the other way. When the time ran out, there was no one about – on Independence Day.

    Even more soul-searing is Colin Raye’s “The Eleventh Commandment” – never released as a single and one of the most devastating songs I’ve ever heard. I practically bawl every time I hear it. The video is linked below, but here is the part that leaves me shaking:

    Thou shalt not kill; Thou shalt not steal; Thou shalt not take the Lord’s name in vain;
    Thou shalt not cause thy children pain.

    The Eleventh Commandment – Colin Raye

  • partone October 1, 2008, 3:21 pm

    Best post ever. Thanks for the link Ray.

  • Michelle D October 1, 2008, 5:23 pm

    Everyone deserves help, victim and perp. Victims deserve to be treated with respect, which in these situations they never receive. They deserve a chance for a “normal” and happy life. Perps need to suffer the consequences for their actions. They also deserve a second chance and the opportunity for repentance. That is what the atonement of Christ is all about. Often, these types of perps do not want to change. But there are exceptions who go through hell as they repent and overcome addictions and habits. However, there is a HUGE difference between enabling and helping. This mother is enabling, and it doesn’t help anyone – least of all the daughter who paid the price for these horrible decisions.

  • facethemusic October 1, 2008, 8:02 pm

    What’s so incredibly angering about this is the legal system that allows it.
    That man should have never been allowed to coach a team following his conviction.
    Whatever organization hired him (paid or not) to do the job, didn’t do THEIR job. They should have checked his record.

    And what’s worse– parents are ALLOWED by the law, to bring abusers in the home.
    I have a family member who was convicted of molesting his daughter over a period of a few years, from age 2-5. He served only a little under a year in jail, since the charges were pled down.
    Now get this– he’s a registered child sex offender. He’s not allowed to see the daughter he abused. He’s not allowed to live near a school. He’s not allowed to work with kids, etc, etc. BUT he’s been living with a woman who he got pregnant and who delivered a little girl, and he IS allowed to live with them.
    Is that stupid or what? So the law will protect everyone ELSE’s kids (who probably aren’t really in danger anyway, since he isn’t a “predator” by legal definition. This was a familial ‘easy access’ thing– he was living with his daughter) but it won’t protect his new daughter who IS in danger since he LIVES with her. It was his daughter that he was LIVING with that he abused not a neighbor kid or some kid he lured from a park. But they’ll let him live with his new daughter in the house.
    I actually called up the Utah County Sheriff’s department to ask them about this. (I was the one who turned him in, in the first place, so I wanted to talk to the officer I dealt with before in the case) They said that the law can’t prevent a mother from choosing to have a relationship with a convicted child molester if she wants. The law can protect the “unknowing” public, but they can’t stop a woman from having a relationship with a registered offender, or from having children with him. So he’s allowed to LIVE WITH the ONE child who’s the MOST LIKELY to be abused, but he’s supposed to stay away from other kids. Figure that one out.
    Now– that’s a STATE thing. It’s different from state to state. In some states, the mothers could be brought up on charges. Endangerment to a child, psychologocial abuse, etc (Can you imagine the emotional abuse of having to live with the man who molested you after he’s already been caught, served time, and now is living with you again? Can you imagine the fear? The sense of betrayal?) The whole thing makes me livid.
    So there you go Utah voters. Make a stink over this!!!

  • agardner October 1, 2008, 8:20 pm

    Not only that face, but how on earth was the perpetrator allowed to check his step-daughter out of school? Not that it would have prevented the rape, but seriously – just anyone can go check out a kid there? That is super scary.

    Here, we have to be on the child’s school record as someone who can check out the child, and you have to supply your driver’s license to check a child out. There is no way the schools here would allow a victim to go with the man who abused her and has a criminal record. Insane.

    If I were the mom, the thing that would really kill me is that I would have to live for the rest of my life knowing that I enabled this horror.

  • facethemusic October 1, 2008, 8:55 pm

    but how on earth was the perpetrator allowed to check his step-daughter out of school?

    Because the MOTHER allowed it! (well– if this was a highschooler, I don’t know if there’s a restriction on who can pick them up.)

    It would be interesting to know if this guy was registered as an offender, and if he had an order to stay away from other kids. If he did, he shouldn’t have been coaching that team (someone didn’t do their job) and he wouldn’t have been allowed (by law) to even GO to the school and check his stepdaughter out.
    But if he DIDN’T have such an order, then he COULD check her out.

  • agardner October 1, 2008, 9:29 pm

    Not here. Yes, even for highschoolers the parent has to show ID and be on the approved list. There is no way a convicted child sex offender would be on that list here, even if the mother tried to put him there. He had a restraining order against him, right?

    I was witness last year to a pretty nasty situation where a non-custodial father tried to check out his child. Not on the list, no go. He became very upset saying he has visitation rights and all – but still the police were called to take him away from the school. I’ve also seen the secretaries turn away grandparents and other family members because they weren’t on the list. They take it very seriously here – thank goodness!

    I’m just truly baffled how this guy was allowed anywhere near this girl. Again, the school situation I don’t think is key, because obviously he could have gotten to her another way, but that just has me scratching my head how a school would release a child victim to a convicted sex offender with a restraining order against him.

    Alison, do you know anything about the biological father? This sounds like grounds to me for a change in custody at the very least.

  • facethemusic October 2, 2008, 5:47 am

    He had a restraining order against him, right?

    Apparently so, according to what Alison said in the post.
    BUT a restraining order can be broken by the person who went to court for the order.
    All a restraining order does is keep a person away from you. They’re not allowed to come within a certain number of feet from you, show up at your place of business, contact you, etc.
    If they do, you call the police and the person gets picked up, has to go to court, etc.
    But if you LET them come near you– re-establish a relationship, etc, then the order isn’t good anymore.
    If the MOTHER had a restraining order against her husband but then established contact with him, let him in the house, etc, etc then SHE broke the restraining order and it’s null and void.
    She can’t let him come over, live with her, etc and then call the police the first time she gets mad at him and say “I have a restraining order against him”. Women do this all the time.
    They get a restraining order (against an abusive boyfriend, husband, etc) then accept his phone calls, let him come over, hook up with him again, sleep with him etc– then the next time she gets upset with him, or they argue, she gets mad at the police when they won’t arrest him for breaking the restraining order, but they can’t, since the woman LET the guy come back. If he actually HITS her, they can arrest him for DV, but NOT for breaking the restraining order– SHE did that.)
    If the STEPDAUGHTER had a restraining order against him, then no– he couldn’t pick her up, even if the mother said he could. But he also wouldn’t have been allowed to live with them again. (Unless the stedaughter allowed it) But chances are, the MOTHER is the one who had the order, and she broke it by letting him back in.
    And if she has other children, someone else needs to get custody of them– at least temporarily until this woman gets some SERIOUS counseling.

  • agardner October 2, 2008, 6:07 am

    I guess my point is that it’s hard to believe that the courts wouldn’t have established something to legally protect the child. Yes, the mother could break it by inviting the perpetrator back into her life, but the school shouldn’t. I am almost positive that he would have had serious probation requirements that kept him away from the child. Obviously he and the mom can choose to break the terms of probation – but that the school did is appalling to me. That is very scary that a school allowed a victim to go with her attacker – and if he had served time for the crime it’s almost certain he had some kind of legal restriction against any contact with the victim at all. If mom chooses to break that at home that’s her unfortunate choice and I believe she should be held responsible for that – but for the schools to do it is seriously scary.

    It might sound harsh, but the mom should immediately lose custody of the child since she has proven that she does not have the child’s best interests at heart – and the district really needs to look at their policy, and if someone broke it they should also be held accountable.

  • facethemusic October 2, 2008, 8:40 am

    I

    guess my point is that it’s hard to believe that the courts wouldn’t have established something to legally protect the child.

    Well you’d THINK they would have. And maybe they did– like I said, it would be interesting to know if he’d been prohibited from seeing her/living there and the mother let him back in anyway and no one called on it, or if he had a probation officer that wasn’t keeping very good track of him. DFS should have been involved as well.
    The whole thing is horribly sad and angering.

  • Alison Moore Smith October 3, 2008, 6:14 pm

    Thanks for your thoughts. To clarify, the stepfather was prohibited from seeing the GIRL.

    I don’t think anything makes me more angry than selfish parents who endanger their children for their own personal gratification. Seriously, what kind of a MONSTER would bring a PEDOPHILE into a home with their own children?

  • facethemusic October 4, 2008, 9:43 pm

    the stepfather was prohibited from seeing the GIRL

    If that’s the case then the mother should be brought up on charges.

  • Alison Moore Smith October 4, 2008, 9:55 pm

    Sorry, she can’t. She’s picking out curtains.

  • TheWallruss October 23, 2008, 7:58 pm

    I must ask the one who penned this posting. What did you do? Did you call the Bishop or the Police when you realized this man was moving back into the home? And after the sad events were over what would you have others do? Stone the mother?
    Compassion. The single Christ like attribute that will brings us closer to exaltation than any other.
    After the kettle is over turned the porridge is on the floor and there is nothing more to do than clean up the spill and move on. I am quite sure that the local Bishop did what he could do as for offering counseling to both child and mother. But that is a privet matter and not for us, you or I to be privy to. He, the Bishop is only their clergy, he can persuade and suggest. He can offer prayers on their behalf, but he cannot force them to comply.
    Do not blame it on the Mormons. If there is anyone out there that feels the need to blame just take a moment, look into the mirror and look intently into your own eyes. Fix what you see there and then when that is fixed look to fixing others.
    Fill yourself with compassion and when you do you will find that justice and mercy will follow in great abundance.

    Thanks

    Wally

  • Alison Moore Smith October 24, 2008, 8:22 am

    Posted By: TheWallrussDid you call the Bishop or the Police when you realized this man was moving back into the home?

    No. When I “realized” the man had moved back into the home he was already dead. This is the same time I “realized” that he had been coaching a bunch of my kids’ friends by himself.

    And after the sad events were over what would you have others do? Stone the mother?

    I would have (a) looked to help the victim and her many siblings and (b) worked on getting the woman some kind of counseling and parenting classes so that she would not further victimize her children while attempting to fulfill her “needs.” And, yes, I might consider pressing charges against the mother who violated the court order and allowed her daughter to be raped by her convicted pedophile of a husband.

    Compassion.

    I’ll first extent my compassion to the innocent children. When they are safe I’ll start thinking about redecorating.

    After the kettle is over turned the porridge is on the floor and there is nothing more to do than clean up the spill and move on.

    Or you could spend some time teaching people how to cook without blowing up the kitchen.

    He can offer prayers on their behalf, but he cannot force them to comply.

    No, but he can alert the proper authorities and THEY can force her to comply.

    Fix what you see there and then when that is fixed look to fixing others.

    Wait a minute. You imply that you are perfect. Is that what you expect us to believe? Otherwise, according to your own position, you have no business coming to this blog to tell ME what I should think or do or write. Unless you have entirely “fixed” YOURSELF, you can’t make a judgment about what I think.

    Of course I don’t believe that, but the “judge not” blasting is circular and completely illogical.

  • TheWallruss October 24, 2008, 9:22 am

    I know my imperfection, and knowing it as I do it is probably best that the stepfather died as he did rather than me getting my hands on him. As to the mother, Yes Child Protective Services should be notified and hounded until something is done. As to the molested child? Love, care and understanding. Charity and compassion, But I am afraid the damage has been done and all we do cannot fix that. We cannot fix that. The best we can do is try our best to give her the will, the strength and faith to fix it herself. The true fixing is up to her. God’s involvement goes without saying.

    Back to the mother. I wonder who molested her? Who broke her? And if anyone ever tried to help her fix herself.

    We could say the same about the stepfather.

    It is such an ugly circle. I know. I was broken at a very early age. By one of my Sunday School Teachers no less. 50 years later I am yet trying to fix it. Compassion is for all involved. They are all victims. They all need our faith and prayers. They are all children of our Heavenly Father.

    Wally

  • Alison Moore Smith October 24, 2008, 12:02 pm

    Wally, past abuse (if it actually occurred) is no excuse for bringing your child’s convicted rapist back to live WITH the child.

    And, no, there IS more that can be done for the child and her siblings. They can be protected from FUTURE abuse by their mother.

  • ChanJo October 24, 2008, 12:45 pm

    TheWallruss, the article talked about compassion already. It said “I ?m all for compassion and love and helping those in need. But are you serious? How about some compassion and love and care for the children that this woman ignored to serve her own needs ??”

    I don’t think decorating the house has anything to do with helping to solve the problem and it doesn’t help the victims instead it helps one of the perpetrators. I think it was done to make the people who didn’t do anything before to feel good OH look how I’m helping!

    In most places people who know about abuse and allow it are guilty of abuse especially when its someone who has a responsibility to take care of the child.

  • Oregonian October 24, 2008, 12:48 pm

    wally i was molested as a kid too but i dont let people molest my kids. there is no excuse for any parent who lets that happen even if we all have bad stuff happen to us. everyone has bad stuff happen to them. so what.

    this mother should have her butt hauled off to jail for abuse and the other kids should be placed with someone with a brain.

  • kiar October 24, 2008, 1:21 pm

    Amen sister!

  • TheWallruss October 24, 2008, 8:34 pm

    I do not believe that I said or suggested that nothing be done about the mother. Nor do I believe I said or suggested that anyone let this child ( or any child ) be molested. Compassion dose not me absolution. Justice and mercy go hand in hand. There can not truly be one with out the other. Everyone involved should be held accountable for their part in this horrid event. Mother and stepfather. Criminal justice system, neighbors and school teachers that may have seen something and not reported it. Extended family that may have had some idea of what was going on.
    It is my experience that past abuse normally plays a large part in mind of someone involved in something like this. Not always. But almost always. Don’t take my work for it do your homework. Being abused it no excuse for abusing someone else, but it is a reason. One that needs to be dealt with.
    As for decorating the house, well people will do what they can. Perhaps some of the people involved in decorating the house did it out of guilt, but then I can not help but believe that most of them believed they were helping. And I believe in many was they were. You do what you can with what you have. They have not the authority to drag the mother out into the street and stone her. They do not have the authority to punish her in any way. So you do what you can. There is nothing wrong with decorating the house. In doing so perhaps a door into the hearts of these people may be opened so that lessons may be taught and healing may be helped. The real sin in decorating the house, in my opinion, is if that is where it stopped. After the house was decorated did we just go our way or did we continue to spend time with this family? Decorating the house is a beginning. Did we continue to serve them, and love them and share the Light of Christ with them? I do not know I was not there. I am just looking for more information than I saw on the serface.

    Wally

  • Oregonian October 25, 2008, 12:31 pm

    decorating the house mostly benefits one of the perpetrators. she is unfit and proved it by inviting her daughters convicted rapist into her house. the ward should spend their service time and money doing something for the victims not this sorry excuse for a mother. its disgusting beyond belief. they can visit her in jail if they need to show her compassion ___***AFTER***___ the kids are at a safe distance.

  • TheWallruss October 25, 2008, 3:52 pm

    You make me smile out loud. You make all of these judgements and decisions without knowing the entire story. It is very sad what has happened in this family. On the surface I do agree with you. Wholeheartedly. My first reaction is to pound my fist on the table and demand action, demand justice. But as I mentioned before there can be no justice without mercy. Do not take my word for it. Checkout the writings of Joseph Smith. There can be no mercy without justice. One is necessary for the other to exist. The fact remains that we, the outsiders do not have all of the information. The situation is outside of our stewardship. We can only speculate what transpired and make judgements based on our own emotions. Not the facts, not what really took place.

    I think that decorating the house benefited all involved. It is what it is. It is not the magic fix all. There is no magic fix all. But it is a start. It shows the entire family that someone cares. It get members of the ward involved. It opens the door of communication. Perhaps builds a wee of trust between family members and ward members. It does changed the environment, even if it is just a wee. It is a start. As I said before the real sin in my opinion is if decorating the home was both start and finish. But there again we do not have all of the information.

    As for what the ward should be spending money and time doing. Well….. that is up to the Bishop. Not you. Not me. Not the ward members. AND….. He may only do what the woman is willing to consent to. He can not force her to or the children to go to counseling. But if he should succeed in persuading her or the children into counseling that is between the Bishop and the member involved. It is not for public knowledge. It is not to be published in the ward news paper. We, you and I, have no idea what is or has transpired between these people and the Bishop and furthermore it is none of our business. That is a three way source of trust between the Bishop, the member seeking help, and the Lord. We are not and should not be privy to that communication.

    Wally

  • Alison Moore Smith October 25, 2008, 4:59 pm

    Wally, the “judge not” argument bores me to tears. Here’s how it goes:

    You come to the forum and JUDGE that others shouldn’t JUDGE. Blah, blah, blah.

    Truth is MY opinion is outside YOUR stewardship. Truth is YOU don’t know how much I know about the situation. Truth is you’re doing the same thing you’re accusing us of doing.

    So, here’s the deal, yes it’s a judgment. And, yes, I think redecorating the house of a women who was an accomplice to the rape of her teen daughter is a foolish use of limited resources and limited availability of service.

  • TheWallruss October 25, 2008, 7:50 pm

    I did not say anything about not judging. We are all called upon to make judgements every day. It is part of life. I’m just saying that there is more than one view point involved here. If you take a look at my postings you will see that I feel the same way about this as you do. From the information that I have on the situation killing himself it the only good thing that the stepfather accomplished. Would I like to see the mother brought up on charges and her children removed form her “care”? Your dang right I would. And if it were in my power I would take all of the hurt away from all of the children. I say all because they all are victims here. If I could fix them I would do it in the blink of an eye.

    Am I judging anyone of you? No I am not. I do understand your feelings.

    I will let the Bishop do his job. I will let the ward members do what they feel they can to help. If I knew this family I would certainly do what I could do to help.
    I am sorry that I have offended you with another opinion other than or different than yours. But I do respect your right to your opinion. I am sure that we both go to the Temple often and we both live the gospel as best we can. And I will not mock you or belittle you. Never pass judgement on you. I made the assumption that this forum was for sharing thoughts and ideas and feelings about how we deal with the world around us and live within the gospel at the same time.

    Wally

  • Kathy October 25, 2008, 8:27 pm

    Wally, I agree with you and appreciate your comments. I came from a home similar to this one (probably worse but I don’t know all the details of this family) and I really appreciate your understanding.

  • Ray October 26, 2008, 4:30 pm

    Just something to consider, in light of what I think Wally is trying to say:

    “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” (Matthew 5:44)

    Legal ramifications and protection obligations are one thing; the condition of our hearts and how we judge is another. I believe we can believe in justice (even harsh justice) without crossing the line of spiritual condemnation. I’m not saying anyone here has condemned this woman to Hell, but I understand the concern that righteous anger can turn easily into unrighteous judgment and condemnation. I have seen vigils outside prisons when a convicted murderer is about to die become parties where people celebrate that death (actually joy in the killing of a child of God), and that image will never leave me. It is a caution I hold close – that I must never reach that state, even in cases where I advocate the severest of legal penalties.

    In the case in question here, if I were involved somehow, I believe I should strive to identify ways to help and bless this woman regardless of what she has done – and regardless of my belief that she should be punished legally for what she did. After all, despite what she did, she is my sister – and I never want to forget, no matter the other issues.

  • facethemusic October 26, 2008, 5:42 pm

    Well said, Ray.
    This REALLY IS something that I think is very hard for many people. There’s EVERY reason for righteous indignation in this case and a million others. But separating our disgust and even hatred for the behavior, from the soul of the perpetrator can be really difficult sometimes.
    In the situation I mentioned earlier about the family member who’s a registered sex offender, it was easier to separate those feelings BECAUSE it was a family member who I love.
    All the active family members tried very hard to maintain healthy contact prior to and during his jail time. We were ALL trying to encourage him in his repentence process– let him know that while we were disgusted by his choices and would never let him be alone with our chidren, that we yet still loved him and cared about him and truly wanted him to fully repent. It was especially odd for me, since I was also the one who reported him to the police and DFS. But it was important to me to make sure he knew that when I reported him it wasn’t out of anger or hate– but because it was the right thing to do, not just for his daughter, but for HIM! It was NECESSARY for him to go through the legal process AND the spiritual process in order for him to repent. So it was important to me that he knew that just because I turned him in, that it didn’t mean that I didn’t love him. But it was VERY easy to become angry with him when he seemed to be becoming complacent. We were more concerned about his spiritual well being than he was.
    Then he got out of jail, was complacent in his counseling and was VERY irresponsible toward his family– not paying support, etc.
    I can’t tell you my utter DISGUST for his behavior. Buying TV’s, going out, dating, talking about buying a motorcycle when he already had a very nice truck, etc, etc– all the while not paying support to his family.
    Honestly, the whole thing made me want to never speak to him again. And I’ll be honest– he got remarried this past weekend and I totally forgot about it, because when I got the invitation I was so disgusted I threw it out. Disgusted with him for what he’s done and his negligence in repenting and supporting his famiy, and disgusted with his new wife for KNOWINGLY choosing him, a child sex offender who molested his own year old daughter from 2-5 years old, to now be the father of HER new baby, too– also a daughter.
    The whole thing is very difficult spiritually.

  • TheWallruss October 26, 2008, 5:45 pm

    Kathy:
    I am truly sorry for what you have gone through. I know that it will never go away. Not in this life anyway. There are truly monsters in and about the world. When they strike they take more that just your innocence. They take a part of your very soul. They leave there in that hole an ugly festering wound. The only true medicine I know of to heal it as best we can is the Light of Christ. No one can do it for us, we have to do it our self. However there are real angels out there in the world as well. Some from the other side of the vale and some on this side of the veil. And they can help us find that Light. They will help in any way they can. Some a just little and some a lot. But every wee bit helps. No matter how small it seems. It is not lost and it makes a difference. I realize that you already know this. I know by the feeling of your words. I can tell that your realize that to truly heal one must truly forgive. This is not an easy task. It does not happen over night. True forgiveness it necessary for justice and mercy to be served. Again it is obvious from the feeling of your words that this knowledge already rests within your heart.

    Ray:
    Wisdom is necessary for truth and knowledge to be of value. Positive value. There is wisdom in your words. In your message. Thank you Ray for for adding your voice, your heart to this colloquy. Your message is spot on.

    Wally

  • TheWallruss October 26, 2008, 6:03 pm

    facethemusic:
    Wow, that is a tough situation you are in. My heart goes out to you. I believe you have made the right decisions. ( Not the my opinion really counts, but there it is. ) I guess that is why it so important to stay close to the gospel. So important to keep that chingsure, that line of communication open between us and the heavens. I know when I got older and really started to understand what just had happened to me I spent many long hours sitting in the Celestial Room pondering my options and choices. Pondering the true intent of my heart. But the joy of making the correct choice is overwhelming, and touched by the Holy Ghost. You will know when you have let wisdom and righteousness prevail. And then you will fine a wee more healing taking place.

    Nice message, good on you.

    Wally

  • nanacarol October 26, 2008, 6:39 pm

    I have decided to comment. It will not be easy for me but I am going to write some really personal stuff. I, too was abused as a child by my dad. Took me years to get help and get anyone to believe me. It has caused me some really hard times in life. However, I have not let that hold me back-I have tried to not let it define my life.
    Here is my biggest beef with the whole situation. I did not have an understanding mother and my mom did not leave my dad and stayed in the marriage. She said she stayed to benefit the family. When my dad tried to do the same with my daughter at the age of 12 it made so much come to a head. We reported my dad and then the church was brought in. What hurt the worst was that my mom accused me and my daughter of being flirty children and bringing it on ourselves!!!!! There was so much more said but can’t go there. I have made amends with my dad and he has asked for forgiveness at least from me. Still denies about my daughter and I am on her side. What I can’t get over is how my mom has treated me. I am more angry at her than my dad. Does this make sense. I have fianlly had to drop the matter and have put it in the Lord’s hands. But when I read a thread like this it sure brings it all back. All I can say is shame, shame on that mom and I sure hope the daughter gets so good help. I have tried counseling and it has not been a positive experience for me. Again, the Lord takes care of things in his own due time!
    Wally, you are right about keeping the comminication open between us and heaven. It is the only way I survive and I can personally testify that when I have needed my Heavenly Father in really hard times with this issue, he has been right there hold my hand and getting me thru the hard moments. I literally owe him my life because there have been moments that I thought I could not longer endure this life and he has gotten me thru.
    There is another angle here to explore too. I have tried to keep the lines of communication open between my folks and me. I love them and honor that they gave me life. But because of issues that my youngest brother had with my dad he has totally left the family. We have not heard or seen him in over 10 years. My folks can’t understand why he stays away. He has totally gone againist the church and the last time he and I talked he told me he didn’t even believe in God. Is his way right or mine? Not that it really matters. But I know he is mad at me for consorting with the enemy. It just hurts because we were so close. I just pray someday his heart heals and he finds his way back. I pray for him alot.

  • Alison Moore Smith October 26, 2008, 7:19 pm

    Posted By: TheWallrussI did not say anything about not judging…Am I judging anyone of you? No I am not.

    I must ask the one who penned this posting. What did you do? Did you call the Bishop or the Police when you realized this man was moving back into the home? And after the sad events were over what would you have others do? Stone the mother?
    Compassion.

    You make all of these judgements and decisions without knowing the entire story.

    As for what the ward should be spending money and time doing. Well….. that is up to the Bishop. Not you. Not me.

    Wally, of course these are judgments. Make them if you like, but let’s call a spade a spade. And the problem with calling others out is that by doing so you are also making judgments without “knowing the entire story.” So your position presents a problem.

    It’s one thing to say, “I think the mother deserves compassion” and lead that to a discussion and quite another to contend that other posters don’t have the stewardship and/or knowledge to judge–while you make a judgment about what was said.

    I made the assumption that this forum was for sharing thoughts and ideas and feelings about how we deal with the world around us and live within the gospel at the same time.

    Tis true. I haven’t seen any of your posts disappear, have you? But others are free to disagree, just as you are.

    The article doesn’t actually address whether or not the mother deserves compassion. My position is that the victims should be protected and their needs addressed BEFORE any kind of feel-good service to one of the perps.

  • Alison Moore Smith October 26, 2008, 7:23 pm

    nanacarol, I’m so sorry for what you have been through.

    In an academic kind of way I understand you anger at your mother. I think that kind of response isn’t uncommon. The only thing that bothers me is that your dad denies what happened with your daughter. That being the case, I don’t think he’s safe to be around, at least not for any children. Forgiveness is good, but I wouldn’t give him access to any of my kids for anything.

    Perhaps your brother feels the same way to some extent? Or just feels that he never wants to associate with someone who has perpetrated evil on children? Personally, I don’t think forgiveness requires spending holidays with someone, if you know what I mean.

  • kiar October 26, 2008, 7:44 pm

    Thanks for your kind words to Nana. the whole famil is kinda messed up, and it has made my SIL a very bitter and angry person. FWIW, I agree that he should never be around children, and never let mine be alone with him. It is a very tricky situation, and I don’t know how she(nana) has done it all these years. They have been on her case a lot, and treat her very badly.

    Again thank you.

  • Alison Moore Smith October 26, 2008, 7:55 pm

    What a difficult situation. I can’t imagine! :sad:

  • TheWallruss October 26, 2008, 9:27 pm

    Alison Moore Smith:
    Wow, I seem to have struck a nerve. I think based on what was posted the questions of what did you do and what would you have others do is a fair question. Seeking clarification is an important part of forming opinions. I don’t believe that I ever denounced you for your actions.

    As for others judging this family without all of the information, Well….. I stick to my guns. That is just what I see as happening.

    As to the decorating of the house. In your opinion it was a wast of time and effort, however from my experience that one simple act was and is a very important part of the healing and helping of every one involved. Every one. This vile act was perpetrated not only on the one child, but all of the children, The members of the community, the members of the ward, and yes even the mother who’s self esteem and self worth have been so damningly lowered that she really is alone in the dark.

    The simple truth is that not one of us knows the entire story. Yes some of us may be more privy to information than others. However we are, all of us, on the outside looking in.

    From the postings I have seen so far it would seem that most of us who have seen the dragon firsthand seem to be the most understanding of what is happening and what need to be happening. Perhaps you have heard the saying “How do you describe the colour of yellow to a blind may? A man who has never seen.” It seems that Kathy, Ray, facethemusic and nanacarol have a very deep feeling and understanding of where I am going.

    Forgiveness dose not mean “Oh it’s OK. Well just play like it did not happen.” It means in part trying to understand how it happened, accepting that it did happen and that all the rage and anger and frustration and finger pointing will not help. In fact it usually just makes it all the worse. It makes is harder and take longer to get it behind you and get the healing to start.

    The people who decorated the house jumped right in and began the healing process. I know from my experience and the many abused people that I have counseled with over the many years since my ordeal will tell you that the cleaning up and changing of the “ugly” surroundings that the offence occured in is an almost immediate relief to the victims. It is a positive step in the right direction. Just having the ward members and their spirit in the home will bring a wee of peace and comfort and relief into the home. It is my opinion that to say that the people ( most likely the Relief Society Sisters ) who did the decorating of the home were wasting their time, or not helping anyone, or perhaps doing it as an act of contrition, is really a low blow. And if I remember my church doctrine criticizing the Bishop is a big taboo. In fact the First Presidency released an open letter to the general body of the church saying it was one of the first steps toward apostasy.
    IF someone has a problem with the Bishop, any Bishop, pen a privet letter to the First Presidency and they will inform you as to what should be happening.

    nanacarol:
    You are brave indeed to open the wound and share this with us. However I suspect that you have found that as hard as it may be it is in truth a very real part of the healing process. It is a form of counseling unto itself. The scares will never go away in this life. However with time I promise you that you may ( if you so desire ) find a new strength in this . It is not good that it happened. But it did happen none the less. However you can find some good in it. Yes it would be better if it had not happened, but now that it has, with time and the Light of Christ you may put yourself in a position to talk with others who have been through similar ordeals. With your first hand understanding, your faith and caring you can help others to ease the pain and find the Light. It is not easy, but I promise you in the name of our Lord that it may be done and it is worth it. And you already know that in helping others we are in fact helping ourselves. The truth is that you really can win.
    Remember this “every day is a good day, it’s just some days are better than others”. I tell my self that every day, often times a day and it really is the truth.

    Wally

  • Alison Moore Smith October 27, 2008, 12:52 am

    Posted By: TheWallrussWow, I seem to have struck a nerve.

    I always think it’s funny when someone starts a post with something like that. As if disagreement to your response could only come out of a bad case of the shivers.

    I think based on what was posted the questions of what did you do and what would you have others do is a fair question.

    I didn’t say it was unfair. I said it was a JUDGMENT. It obviously was. And so were multiple parts of your posts. So to go on and say you aren’t judging is simply inaccurate.

    As I said, if you have a problem with judging, then you should refrain from it. If you don’t, then address your points without calling others out for judging–since you find it acceptable. As I said, if you want to address the point that the MOTHER needs compassion, please do. But doing so by pointing the finger of judgment (which is itself a judgment) is hypocrisy.

    As for others judging this family without all of the information, Well….. I stick to my guns. That is just what I see as happening.

    That’s fine. But then let’s acknowledge that (1) we NEVER had “all of the information,” (2) we must make judgments every day (even though we do NOT have “all of the information”), and (3) YOU are making judgments “without all of the information” as well.

    In your opinion it was a wast of time and effort, however from my experience that one simple act was and is a very important part of the healing and helping of every one involved. Every one.

    As I said, I think it smooths over the central issue: the mother was more concerned about having a man in the house even a child predator than in protecting her own children.

    Take care of the victim. Get her in a safe place with safe people who are able/willing to actually take care of her. Protect the siblings. Then you can go Martha Stewart on the mom all you want.

    This vile act was perpetrated not only on the one child, but all of the children, The members of the community, the members of the ward, and yes even the mother who’s self esteem and self worth have been so damningly lowered that she really is alone in the dark.

    Well, then why didn’t they redecorate MY house? I mean, I was part of the community!

    We can go on and on about who was the victim and how far this rippled outward. But the central victim was the daughter who was molested and we all know it. And the central perp was the step-father with his wife as the central accomplice.

    Forgiveness dose not mean “Oh it’s OK. Well just play like it did not happen.” It means in part trying to understand how it happened, accepting that it did happen and that all the rage and anger and frustration and finger pointing will not help. In fact it usually just makes it all the worse. It makes is harder and take longer to get it behind you and get the healing to start.

    Wally, it’s not about forgiveness. In spite of your claim that everyone on the planet was a victim, this man and woman did not violate me. I have nothing to forgive them for in any meaningful sense. And, no, I don’t need to understand how it happened. (What would be the mechanism for doing so?) That’s an entirely separate issue.

    The ward and the community were collectively unwilling to acknowledge the fact that this mother participated extensively in the continued sexual abuse of her daughter. They did so because it’s not “nice” to say something like that. (Since I lived there at the time, it’s possible that I know something about the reaction.) The response was to do something “nice” for the “poor woman.”

    As I said in the article, by playing “nice” the community ignored the victim and the fact that she needed to be protected from her mother. And thus perpetuated the problem.

    And if I remember my church doctrine criticizing the Bishop is a big taboo.

    And who, exactly, was criticizing the bishop? You might notice that you are the only person who has even mentioned the bishop.

  • CamBendy October 27, 2008, 12:54 am

    __And if I remember my church doctrine criticizing the Bishop is a big taboo. In fact the First Presidency released an open letter to the general body of the church saying it was one of the first steps toward apostasy.__

    WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT??????

    You’re preaching to people about apostasy without even reading?

  • TheWallruss October 27, 2008, 5:39 am

    “How did the woman ?s ward respond to this incident? They redecorated the mother ?s house.

    I ?m all for compassion and love and helping those in need. But are you serious? How about some compassion and love and care for the children that this woman ignored to serve her own needs ??

    There is sometimes an odd, misplaced sense of being nice ? among Mormons. We want to be sweet and gentle and cheery and happy, even while really awful things are happening. And we seem to do so without the acknowledgment that sometimes the appearance of niceness ? means ignoring serious issues.

    When we ignore serious issues, there are awful real victims that aren ?t being protected. In this case it was the children. Rather than redecorating the mother ?s home, the ward should have redecorated the daughter ?s room in a house far away from her mother.”

    I am with you all the way in this posting until we get to here. If this was done by the ward, then it was agreed to by the Bishop. He felt that this act of compassion was a proper course of action for the ward to take. It was / is more that just an act of being nice. Sweet, gentle, cheery, and happy are just what this family needed at this time. Just what they needed that the ward could provide. There is nothing wrong with this action taking place. There is everything right with this action taking place. It often takes time for the criminal justice system to kick into drive. They have rules that they have to follow. As does the Bishop in what ever course of action that he decides to follow. In the mean time no act of kindness or compassion bestowed upon this family, all of them, is wrong. The sooner the better. The ward members and the Bishop had no control over what the Justice System was going to do. In the mean time they took action. It was a positive action.

    Your implication here is that the ward was wrong in this action. That there was something better that they could have been doing. That the Bishop made a bad call here. That somehow the ward could have affected a removal of the children from the home. They could not. They did what they could with what they had.
    And yes the Bishop is being criticized here. It is implied that he sat by and did nothing but decorate the home. I can promise you that he did much more than that.
    But what he can legally do is limited. And I am quite sure he did what he could.

    It is my opinion that if anyone was calling anyone out it was you calling out the ward and hence the Bishop for there decided path of action here.

    Beat on me all you want. I am not defending the stepfather or the mother. I am not defending the seemingly inaction of the criminal justices system or the Well Child Services. It seems to me that many things went wrong here. It is sad, ugly and seemingly true. I am however defending the decision of the Bishop and the ward members to take action. To do what they could do, in what ever circumstances they had to operate in to make the lives of all of these people a wee bit brighter. And do it without beaten up for at least doing something. It is what it is, and act of kindness. And in the world of ugly darkness, the kind of world that this family was living in, any act of kindness however small is a welcome treasure.

    I did read. And dissing this ward and in effect the Bishop for their actions ( or implied inaction’s ) it flat out wrong. Don’t believe me? Put your complaint to the First Presidency and ask them. And yes the open letter to the general body of the church telling the members to quit second guessing the Bishop and his decisions was in fact delivered to every ward and branch in the church. It stated flat out that it was amount to apostasy. There again. Don’t believe me? Do your homework.

    These people involved in this deserve all of the kindness and compassion that can be mustered. There are other things we hope are taking place as well. Like the disposition of the children. Both physical and spiritual. The just handling of the mother. All of that needs to be happening. But they are outside the reach of the Church, the Bishop and the members of the ward. So they will do what they will do. What ever that is. And every little bit is welcome.

    You are so busy defending yourself that you are not hearing what it is that I am saying. Do not let your rightness indignation get in the way of the message. Dis me all you want. I will not be angered with you. I will not dis you back. I have said what I have said and I will own it.
    Anyone who can see the injustice that has taken place in this incident has a right to be concerned and angered. But telling the ward and the Bishop that there efforts in humanitarianism were wasted is wrong.

    Wally

  • Alison Moore Smith October 27, 2008, 9:19 am

    As I said, Wally. Try to own your judgment. Either you can judge or you can’t. You pick. And then stick to your own rule and allow others to live by the same standard, rather than the double set you’ve created.

    Posted By: TheWallrussI am with you all the way in this posting until we get to here. If this was done by the ward, then it was agreed to by the Bishop.

    Oh, please. What a stretch. It was some women in the ward who did the redecorating.

    FWIW, I have been officially asked by the compassionate service leader to take dinners to people without the menu being personally approved by the bishopric. :shocked:

    Sweet, gentle, cheery, and happy are just what this family needed at this time.

    Again, a huge assumption. A girl whose been raped by the step-father her mother brought home needs more than a fresh coat of paint in her kitchen.

    It often takes time for the criminal justice system to kick into drive.

    Well, they still haven’t “kicked in” and it’s been more than two years. Because, you know, it’s not very “nice” to suggest that someone isn’t a good parent.

    And yes the Bishop is being criticized here. It is implied that he sat by and did nothing but decorate the home.

    Again, this is ridiculous. It suggest nothing at all about his behavior.

    But just for a second let me ask you something. When I was a teenager, my father was a bishop of a BYU married student ward one in the old WyView trailer park. The bishop of the other half of the park (and also a neighbor of mine in Orem) was excommunicated for having an affair with one of his parishioners. I suppose that had the husband of the woman he had the affair with begun questioning the bishop’s advances toward his wife, he would have been “on the road to apostasy.”

    But just to be clear, let it be known that if anyone thinks anything is amiss in any ward on the planet, they are “on the road to apostasy,” since that would imply that the bishop horrors! might have actually behaved imperfectly. We can’t have that.

    But telling the ward and the Bishop that there efforts in humanitarianism were wasted is wrong.

    Um..again…I didn’t say it was “wasted.” I said it was misdirected. The service, as I’ve said repeatedly, was directed at one of the perpetrators rather than at the victim. It was, in fact, in lieu of addressing the very serious issue that was facing this girl she had been raped by her step-father and lived with a mother who not only didn’t protect her but intentionally put her in harm’s way. The women in the ward that I spoke to didn’t even see the problem with the mother. They thought that now that the “poor woman” had a dead husband, the problem was solved. If, in fact, the bishop does share those sentiments, then he is wrong as well. (APOSTASY!) But since I did not talk to him, I have no idea if he does share them. It’s certainly possible.

    It might shock you, Wally, that the past history of the lay church leadership in dealing with issues such as spousal and child abuse are about as dismal as the rest of our culture’s history. I don’t expect them to magically become experts in all fields by being called, but setting up the standard you are opens the church to all kinds of liability.

    FYI, I have seen the letter. I don’t have a copy. If you do, please post it so that we can discuss the *actual* wording of the letter–as opposed to the “never, ever question anything a ward ever does” skew you’re presenting here.

  • Alison Moore Smith October 27, 2008, 9:30 am

    Gosh, if ONLY I was a bishop! Then anytime anyone disagreed with me I could just call them apostates!!! :cool: I guess I better start writing that “women need the priesthood now” letter right away!

  • Kathy October 27, 2008, 10:23 am

    My sister got married in the temple, had a baby girl, and seemed relatively happy. A few years later she decided to have an affair with a sleezy guy who was involved with drugs. She left her husband and child and moved in with the sleeze, also did drugs, and ended up pregnant. We know that she used drugs during the 1st trimester. This baby girl was born very small and deformed and subsequently has had a very difficult time. My sister then moved in with a guy 20 years older than her, had another baby, and now currently lives with yet another man. I don ?t think she does drugs anymore but I know she still drinks and parties. She doesn ?t have custody of her first child and I ?m not sure what kind of environment the others have grown up in except I ?m sure it ?s not ideal. She has made a lot of bad decisions that have affected her children and they shouldn ?t have been exposed to the things they were. I imagine a lot of people would classify her as not a great mother and some might even demand justice for the things she has done.

    Now let me tell you a little bit about my sister. She lived through a daily hell that you can ?t even imagine since she was 3 years old. I ?m not going into detail but let me just say that I ?m very grateful that she ?s alive. She is strong, brave, and a wonderful mother with what she has been given. I ?m so proud of her and all her accomplishments, even tho the rest of the world is quick to point our her faults. Most of all I ?m grateful for a just and kind Savior who is the only capable judge because He knows truly what ?s it our hearts and what each of us has been through.

    Not all of us are lucky enough to start out life on a level 10, some of us only start out on a level one and we do the best we can with what we have been given. It ?s easy for those on level 10 to point there fingers to the ones on the lower levels, and think of them as wicked and evil, demanding justice while having no compassion. I ?ve grown up with this righteous indignation all around me. I know what it feels like to be at a level one with judgemental fingers pointing at you. I also know what compassion feels like. Compassion is what brings me up higher levels. I ?m not at a level one anymore but I ?m certainly not at a level 10. There are a lot of things that are difficult for me that seem to be easy for other church members, or just other people, simply because I started life out at a different level. I ?m progressing (not as quickly as I want) but I am progressing and I hope to never look at the levels below me without compassion. Ever.

    There are a lot of people who think bad of my mother because she never left my dad. She failed to protect us and offer us a safe environment. But they don ?t know my mother. I do, and I love her. Most all think of my dad as evil, and that he should burn. But they don ?t know my dad. I do, and I love him. Most people don ?t understand how satan slowly and carefully leads you down to hell. It ?s a step by step process. A good person just doesn ?t wake up one day and decide to be bad. And people aren ?t born bad. Like Wally said, What broke them? ?

    I ?ve learned a lot of things from my experience. One of them is that we really should pray for our enemies and those who use us. Prayers work miracles. And so does compassion. As twisted as this might sound, I ?m grateful for what I ?ve been through. I ?m grateful for the perspective that it has given me on life. I ?m also grateful for the knowledge that we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father and that he loves ALL of us.

  • Kathy October 27, 2008, 10:53 am

    Alison, no compassion is misdirected. You just never know how a kind act will change someones heart. The church even has callings for people to teach the gospel in prisons, to love and serve. There are prison inmates who do genealogy work for the church.

    I think this has been a good topic to talk about. We all have different perspectives. I don’t think it needs to be so argumentive tho, but I do realize that it’s because you’re such an awesome writer and it’s easy for you to pick up on language and thought inaccuracies (a philosopher’s mind). Perhaps you don’t realize the negative tone to your messages. At least I know that when I write it doesn’t really convey how I truly feel. And maybe you’ll take this wrong. Please don’t, I didn’t intend for it. This has just been a really good conversation for me and I don’t want it to turn all negative.

  • Alison Moore Smith October 27, 2008, 2:08 pm

    I didn’t say compassion was misdirected. What I said was that I felt the service resources were misdirected when they were ONLY and PRIMARILY directed at one of the perpetrators. This was done in a feel-good manner while the underlying issue of child abuse was ignored (because the rapist was dead).

    Nor did I say the mother doesn’t deserve any compassion. As I also said, go for it–AFTER the issue of protecting the children (who are innocent and greatly defenseless) is taken care of.

    FWIW, I’ve participated in prison service (as recently as two weeks ago) and have dealt with wayward teens. I think that such service is honorable and needed. But I don’t think it should supersede protecting the victims. And, as I said, I think that often the “be nice” mantra means we ignore some very serious issue and allow continued victimization.

    Both of my brothers and I are adopted. The younger of the two (two years my senior) was adopted after five years of neglect and abuse by his birth parents and then four years of intermittent abuse by relatives and foster parents.

    Robbie lived with us for six years (and was legally adopted and sealed to us) at which point he chose to go back to live with his birth father–who kicked him out a few months later–and has been on his own since he was 16. Suffice it to say, he has numerous children by multiple women only a few of whom he married–and all those he divorced. (One divorce, in his own words was, “Because we get more welfare checks if we aren’t married.”) He has cheated on most of his wives. He has played the church welfare system to the hilt. He abuses alcohol and chain smokes. I don’t know if he uses drugs, but he looks markedly like a meth addict. He’s 46, but looks in his 60’s. He has never supported any of his children and never held a job for more than a few weeks. He’s been arrested multiple times, mostly for DUI and public intoxication, etc. I will be shocked if he lives to his mid 50’s.

    I love my brother, still. I wish he had stayed with us. (His only real contact is when he calls my dad–about once per week–to ask for money.) I wish he had gone to college (he actually was a decently bright kid). He was friendly, a pretty good musician, and funny. I wish he had done something positive. Instead, he chose to leave a trail of women with broken hearts (and their own problems, obviously) and kids without fathers or monetary support.

    The fact that I LOVE him doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t have chosen differently. And even while his past abuse explains some of his behavior and lack of conscience, it doesn’t excuse it. Mostly it doesn’t mean that I should patch over the pain he has caused in order to make myself feel like I’m doing something noble.

    If all we do is look back at each of our lives, we can probably explain everything we do. But so what? There still is a standard of acceptable behavior and, particularly when children are involved, a level of competence that we, as a society, simply demand of each other. And we do it without regard for how many times we might have been hurt in the past. This isn’t about final judgment. It’s about creating a civil and livable society–which requires lots of intermediate judgment.

    In my mind there is nothing that excuses bringing a known child rapist to live in home of the child he raped. In my mind ignoring such blatant disregard for the welfare of a child is unconscionable. And throwing up some curtains in the dining room misses the point.

  • CamBendy October 27, 2008, 2:49 pm

    Maybe I’m off, but this

    __Perhaps you don’t realize the negative tone to your messages.__

    seems to me to be what the whole article is about. If we talk about a mom who brings a pedophile who raped her daughter back to her home the whole thing is _very_ negative! But you want us to have _positive_ “tone” about it? I think that just makes it sound “not so bad” when it’s really, really awful.

  • Kathy October 27, 2008, 4:52 pm

    Alison, I totally get what your saying and I agree with you. But then there’s my other half that sees similiarities between this mom and my mom. I think if I were in this situation (as a kid) the decorating of the house would have shown me that people care and would have been light after a dark day. I would have viewed it as an act of service for the whole family.

    CamBeny, by “negative tone” I meant the arguing vs. disagreeing. Like Alison’s last post – excellent! She didn’t argue with my word choices, etc. (whew), but disagreed in a positive tone. Because of my past experiences this conversation has been good for me and I just wanted it to continue in the right direction. Also, we can all learn from each other’s perspectives – even Alison’s.:tooth: (j/k, I actually really respect Alison’s opinions).

  • a900rr October 27, 2008, 11:08 pm

    All a restraining order does is keep a person away from you. They’re not allowed to come within a certain number of feet from you, show up at your place of business, contact you, etc.
    The PO is a piece of paper, and if someone wants to get you, then they will only have enhanced charges to the sentence.
    If they do, you call the police and the person gets picked up, has to go to court, etc.
    But if you LET them come near you– re-establish a relationship, etc, then the order isn’t good anymore.
    If the MOTHER had a restraining order against her husband but then established contact with him, let him in the house, etc, etc then SHE broke the restraining order and it’s null and void.
    That statement is not true in Southern Utah. I had a protection order against me, my ex came to my motel, brought a ring, a card, and a present, got mad when I demanded my car which she stole on the previous arrest, and I went to jail again. Police said I should not have answered the door.
    She can’t let him come over, live with her, etc and then call the police the first time she gets mad at him and say “I have a restraining order against him”. Women do this all the time.
    I beg your pardon, I know one that has done just that thing, again and again. She feared me not, but used it to punish me out of my 6000 sq ft home, put 3 of my rentals in it, with no contact with the renters even though titled in my name, banned me from a job we shared coaching real estate clients, and ……. she got my clients and was paid for them. It happens, often to me
    They get a restraining order (against an abusive boyfriend, husband, etc) then accept his phone calls, let him come over, hook up with him again, sleep with him etc– then the next time she gets upset with him, or they argue, she gets mad at the police when they won’t arrest him for breaking the restraining order, but they can’t, since the woman LET the guy come back. If he actually HITS her, they can arrest him for DV, but NOT for breaking the restraining order– SHE did that.)
    I was and am not violent at all, and the so. utah police do not even verify her claims are correct. For example, I was to have a jury trial for the first of about a dozen complaints. At court the prosecutors asked for the case to be dismissed for lack of evidence. It seems she had told the santa clara police I broke a PO, they wrote the report, then the County attorney brought charges based on her testimony, only to find out I was never served until much later, and…..she came to me often, even desiring sex one night.
    If the STEPDAUGHTER had a restraining order against him, then no– he couldn’t pick her up, even if the mother said he could. But he also wouldn’t have been allowed to live with them again. (Unless the stedaughter allowed it) But chances are, the MOTHER is the one who had the order, and she broke it by letting him back in.
    And if she has other children, someone else needs to get custody of them– at least temporarily until this woman gets some SERIOUS counseling.
    You don’t need individual ones. My ex put her 8 kids in it their schools, employers, homes, four of which lived elsewhere with families, my renters families, church members, the church building, and they prosecute to the hilt, regardless of the behavior of the Petitioner.

    Two years later, I am still fighting to get my property back, even personal. She took everything….for now.

  • Alison Moore Smith October 28, 2008, 12:02 am

    Kathy, let me clarify. I really don’t care if someone redecorates Adolph Hitler’s house. Honest. And I think it’s great if people want to give service to convicts and perpetrators! (I do it myself.)

    The point of the article was that often doing so is a way to AVOID bigger, messier issues. Issues that are serious and that sometimes require us to NOT “be nice” in the sense I’m talking about. Most people don’t think that calling someone an unfit mother comes under the umbrella of “nice.”

    In this particular case, I found out because less that 24 hours after the suicide–which was on the news and all over the EM forums–I took my kids to their city soccer games. The team that played against my husband’s team had no coach. Where was the coach? Oh, he’s the guy who ran his car into the cement mixer on SR73 yesterday.

    My first reaction is, “He was a COACH???!!!” The guy who had been out of jail for child sexual abuse less than a year was COACHING soccer for a GIRL’S team? ALONE??? How did that happen?

    So first I was contacting folks on the city counsel to find out what happened to the supposedly screening–since our glorious city officials had only months before removed the entire sports council to put in their own stooges, who apparently couldn’t even check the sex offender registry.

    As I was trying to get SOME action by the city to prevent such things from happening (oooo, an action that was seen as “not very nice” by some), I came in contact with a number of neighbors and more details emerged. This was a typical conversation:

    “How is the girl?”

    “Well, the ward redecorated the house.”

    “But how is the girl?”

    Blank stare.

  • Alison Moore Smith October 28, 2008, 12:09 am

    Welcome a900rr!

    Thanks for the first-hand information. You are probably correct that the mother had the restraining order put in place for the daughter.

    Sorry for your situation. False accusations can ruin people. Our “justice system” should address that issue.

  • angcarrig October 28, 2008, 10:21 am

    I understand the idea of “nice”. I see where Alison is coming from. I hear it sometimes when I just recount a list of facts about a particular person that keep me from allowing that person around my family. It isn’t “nice” to remember those things and form opinions and make decisions based on them, and rehearse them to that particular person as they cry. That hurts. Well, whatever it is, I feel it is the only reponsible thing to do.

    There are some good points being brought up about people being “broken”. I don’t like that term, but I understand it. People can have experiences that shape their behavior and the way they think. But if we accept the idea that people can be broken, then we have to accept that they are in fact broken. We can forgive them all day long, but no one can fix them. If they want to fix themselves (with Christ’s help), that’s great, but we have to protect ourselves, each other, and especially the most defenseless – children. We have to be more wary of them than we are “nice” to them. Even if it makes them feel bad about themselves and cry. Even if they think we are really, really mean. Like, totally unfair. Even if it makes their lives harder AND our lives harder. We have to protect those who aren’t broken yet. If we accept that people can be “broken”, then we accept that through our action or inaction, we can affect whether or not a child is broken.

    And we have to decide on what kind of action, what kind of compassion, will actually help a broken person. “Nice” responses to despicable behavior can often perpetuate the behavior. “Nice” is not always the answer. Sometimes, downright mean, angry, and visceral is the most compassionate course of action in helping a broken person figure out they are broken and can’t keep getting away with it in the plain sight of honorable people. Many broken people excuse their behavior by remembering and emphasizing that they themselves are victims and “doing the best they can”. They are in “survival mode”. This is the kind of thinking that keeps broken people broken and hurts the people they come in contact with. If our answer to everything is to be “nice”, then we reinforce that thinking. The broken people think, “This person is a good person, and he/she knows what I am and what I’ve done, and they don’t have a problem with it. They know I’m “just doing my best” and they accept that this is what I do. It’s ok.” We can’t sit around and let broken people walk all over us and influence our lives and the people we love for the sake of being “nice”. We have to stand up to them. Refusing to tolerate a person’s behavior may be the most compassionate thing to do for them if they need to change. Showing the extent of your disgust may be just what they need. They may be in desperate need of being judged by someone, especially someone they respect (if they actually respect anyone), because they don’t judge themselves and their own behavior. If other people let them get away with it, they won’t know there is any other way to look at themselves.

    Only a person who doesn’t judge could allow a rapist in her home and live with her decision. She excuses, she’s nice, she has compassion for rapists, and she never judges. She needs some good healthy judgement coming from many sides IMO.

  • Alison Moore Smith October 28, 2008, 12:34 pm

    angcarrig, thank you for the great insights.

    Posted By: angcarrigOnly a person who doesn’t judge could allow a rapist in her home and live with her decision. She excuses, she’s nice, she has compassion for rapists, and she never judges

    What these “nice” folks often fail to realize–and what I’m trying to point out–is that being “nice” to a perpetrator often means the OPPOSITE to the victim. Commission vs. omission. Refusing to judge a pedophile as unfit to be around your kids ***IS*** judging that they CAN be around your kids!!!

    One year we got tickets for our whole family and some friends to attend a big event on Temple Square. They were hard to get and I begged and bribed to get enough. We were all waiting at the appointed spot to meet up when one of my daughter’s and one of her friends never showed. They were also to bring my father. When I finally contacted her, she had been with some friends and didn’t want to be “rude” by leaving the other activity early.

    This sincere attempt at politeness ended up being “rude” to everyone at the OTHER event.

    We have to recognize these competing values as they come up all the time in our lives. We have to recognize the full impact of our decisions–not just focus on one side at the exclusion of the other.

    As angcarrig said, defenseless children deserve our focus–particularly when WE are the ones responsible to care for and protect them. Sometimes doing so responsibly requires “being mean” to someone who would harm them.

    Add to this the list when parents won’t stand up to bullies, teachers, hurtful extended family, etc., because they don’t want anyone to “get mad” at them–and because “standing up” to people “isn’t nice.” Ack.

    I think this feeds into the victim mentality and the abused spouse mentality and all that.

  • TheWallruss October 28, 2008, 8:01 pm

    angcarrig, Alison:

    I think we have a winner. I think we have fond our common ground. I like this train of thought. It is true I think we call it “cruel to be kind” and sometimes it is very much called for. It is in fact, in my opinion, a from of justice and mercy coming together. I am right there with you. I was quite sure that sooner of later we would find that spot.

    Alison: I would like you to know that I really do respect you. And I did not ever intend this to turn an argument. I pondered about what Kathy said and then went back and read carefully the entire thread. I do owe you and all the readers an apology. I came off sounding a wee high on myself. It was not intended. I am sorry that it happened. When two strong willed people have a differing of opinion especially on a “tender” subject it can get unintentionally rough. And that is what I believe happened here. Again I am sorry. And I am thankful for you and all of the readers for their involvement in this subjective discussion. And thankful for the Gospel that brings us all together.

    I would also like to thank those of you who went so very close to the bone and talked about some very personal times and issues. It can be a wee bit hard to share this information even when using a sudonym. I have been working with abused and neglected children and adults for many years now. It is about as humbling an experience as can be had. It can be so painful just being there, Watching the healing take place. It is never an over night or easy experience. And it is never complete. At least in this life time.

    Again all, please accept my apology. I am really a pretty nice feller. Sometimes a wee pig headed but I think that is the Welsh blood in me. Dowg On Welshmen anyway.

    Wally ;)

  • Alison Moore Smith October 28, 2008, 8:25 pm

    Wally, no need to apologize at all. Sincerely. I have about a quarter Welsh blood myself. Pig-headedness is welcome here. :smile:

  • TheWallruss October 28, 2008, 8:43 pm

    Thank You Alison. Very deeply, Thank you.

    Wally :)

  • mom7 December 3, 2008, 8:19 am

    The discussion seems to be missing some facts. First hand knowledge of some facts without the full story can be misleading. If he spent time in jail for sexual abuse, he had to be a registered offender and there is no way a school would hire him as a couch without doing a check. Are you sure that his charges weren’t reduced to an assault or other charge? When you say the house was redecorated–what do you mean?

    And please note, that there is more than one victim here. Obviously, the daughter is the first victim, but the mother is the second. She may have believed the lies of her husband which may have been quite convincing and now has to deal with knowing she allowed her daughters abuse, dealing with having her daughter abused, the death of her husband who may have been perfect in every other way, and other legal and financial consequences. If the Savior were here, I believe that he would support both the daughter and the mother. Not to enable, but because support is warranted.

  • davidson December 3, 2008, 8:47 am

    Welcome, mom7. Interesting ideas.

  • Alison Moore Smith December 3, 2008, 12:33 pm

    Welcome mom7. Glad to have you here.

    Posted By: mom7First hand knowledge of some facts without the full story can be misleading.

    Of course it can. Yet we never, ever, ever have all of the facts. We have to live within that reality and work the best we can.

    If he spent time in jail for sexual abuse, he had to be a registered offender and there is no way a school would hire him as a couch without doing a check.

    First, as the article stated, “At the same time, the perp served as a coach for the Eagle Mountain city league girls ? soccer.” He wasn’t a school coach. (Nor was he a school couch. :wink::smile:) He was a volunteer coach for the city.

    Second, even though certain standards are set in place, it’s inaccurate to say that “there is no way” something could/would happen. There were background check requirements in our city and they were simply disregarded. The same has happened fairly recently in schools here regarding substitute teachers who were hired while they had no business being around kids.

    Obviously, the daughter is the first victim, but the mother is the second. She may have believed the lies of her husband which may have been quite convincing…

    By this standard, there are no perps, only a world full of helpless victims. The father probably has a laundry list of “reasons” why he did what he did as well. So what? It was still evil and caused tremendous harm–and should be stopped.

    As for the mother, I tend to give little credence to the idea that a grown woman–with multiple children and multiple marriages–is somehow unable to have a very basic level of discernment. Here’s the setup:

    Man sexually abuses your daughter. Choose one:

    (1) You let him live with in the same home with the daughter he abused.

    (2) You don’t.

    This isn’t rocket science. What possible “lies” could be compelling to any thinking person in this situation? I suggest that the woman did so out of selfishness, you imply she’s insane.

    If you’re right and she was “deceived” by the spinning of some enchanted tale, then she’s utterly incompetent to be responsible for the care of any of her children and they should be removed from the home. Is that what you propose? If so, I’ll be happy to “support” the house decorating–with the kids out of harm’s way–while the mom regains her grasp on reality.

    Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about:

    When we lived in Florida there was a woman in our ward (in name only, she never attended in the ten years we lived there) who was an alcoholic. She was single and had two children (a girl and a boy, both under 12). They lived in a trailer that was filthy and unsafe. Their mother partied and drank herself into oblivion almost daily. They got themselves up, ate whatever they could find, and went to school in dirty, smelly, torn clothing.

    We (my husband and I) were called one Sunday afternoon to go help her. We got there (someone had taken the kids to their house) and found multiple empty bottles of cheap wine on the table. The only food I remember seeing was empty Pop Tarts boxes. There were dishes and garbage and broken things and dirty clothes on every surface. The woman was blasted and tottering around. She was crying uncontrollably–because she had been told if she couldn’t get her place cleaned up by Monday, her kids would be removed from the home.

    As we began to clean up the mess (about six of us) I took aside the RS president and said something like, “This is my concern. These kids live like this all the time. They are not cared for. If we clean this up and FOOL THE AUTHORITIES into thinking that she is getting her act together, we are perpetuating the problem for THEM and putting THEM at greater risk.” After thinking about it, she agreed. She talked to the bishop about it.

    At that point it was decided that the children needed to be protected first. The bishop (or someone???) talked to the DCFS folks (or whoever the agency was there). The purpose being that we wanted the KIDS taken care of first and that then we would do what we could to help this woman get her life back.

    AFTER the issues with the kids were discussed (that same day), we took that house apart. We cleaned every inch while the woman sat at the banquette trying to sober up. I took home over a dozen loads of laundry (one other woman took about as many). We found some services for helping the woman to stop drinking. We arranged regular contact (Sam was assigned as her home teacher). Etc.

    FWIW, she was compelled to change BECAUSE she wanted her children back in her life.

    We moved away about six weeks later, so I can’t tell you “the rest of the story,” but I can tell you that I have absolutely no problem “supporting” anyone. Everyone needs a hand up sometimes–even when we’ve created our own messes. But I DO have a problem with prettying up really bad situations that leave the most helpless in our society vulnerable.

  • Tinkerbell December 3, 2008, 12:56 pm

    I think in general that our society has a problem. We are so focused on the needs and protecting the rights of adults that children get shafted. Our society is not concerned with caring and protecting children any longer. Everyone should be allowed to do whatever they want, and if parents don’t like it, parents have to protect their children. It is a scary, scary society to be raising kids in when nobody really cares about my kids – when I have to protect them every second of every day in order to protect the rights of others (like the registered sex offender I just found out is living on my street). My heart truly breaks for children whose own parents don’t protect them. We live in sad, sad times.

  • facethemusic December 3, 2008, 3:28 pm

    Strange Alison– a very similar thing happened to Bill and I in South Carolina.
    I was asked to help a few sisters “clean out” a woman’s house. She had two sons and I was Primary President at the time. This was the first time I’d ever seen a home like this– (but I’ve seen them again, since). There really wasn’t ANY place to sit, and hardly anyplace to walk. The couches and chairs were COVERED with clothes, boxes, bags of things, trash, etc. So was the kitchen table– the counters, the floors, etc. They had created a little 6-8 inch wide path that meandered through all the junk. The house smelled of cat urine and feces and it was EVERYWHERE as we cleaned. You move a box, there was old, dried up cat poop. Move a bag- there it was again. The beds and toilet were the only places to “sit”– even though the beds were covered with boxes and such also–all the “stuff” was shoved over to one side, leaving just enough room for someone to lay down.
    While we cleaned, I learned that the ward had cleaned out this woman’s house a few times before. But a year or so later it was right back to the same nasty condition. But still, we cleaned up. And she DID help us, unlike your blubbering drunk lady.
    About a year or so later, I was passing her house, on the way to mine, and there were two police cars in the drive way, but the woman’s car wasn’t there. Worried that something had happened with the kids, I stopped by and explained to the officers who I was and asked what was going on.
    Apparently, the boys had been seen shoplifting from the gas station down the street. They took off on their bikes, but the shop owner called the police and police caught them just as they were peddling into their driveway.
    When the boys went into the house to call their mother (at the request of the police officers) the officers saw the mess inside, and called DFS. That’s when I pulled up. Then the same thing happened that happened with you. DFS gave her a certain amount of time to get the place cleaned up under threat of losing the kids, and naturally, she wanted the ward to come and help her clean up. There was a big debate– do we help her clean and keep the boys, or do the boys NEED to be taken so that she’ll take it seriously, get the counseling she needs, and never let her house get that way again? It turned out that the Bishop was able to work it out with DFS so that a ward family could take the boys (instead of having them go into an unknown foster family).
    And like you, we moved soon after and I never knew what happened after that.

  • alejandra February 21, 2011, 11:13 pm

    I really enjoyed this post, I agree with this. A lot of the time as a culture we think of being “nice” instead of doing what would be the best thing to help. Thanks for sharing.

  • Alison Moore Smith February 21, 2011, 11:49 pm

    alejandra, thank you! Glad you could drop by. :)

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