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  1. I’m so sorry for Tonya being bullied by her bishop. Every statement in his facebook posts were completely inappropriate and especially sharing items from private conversations even if he believes he’s a “watchman on the tower.” He violated every rule under the sun when it comes to privacy, decency, kindness, love, respect, etc. There could be many explanations of why he attacked Tonya; his own insecurities, the loss in his ward due to truth claims, his own arrogance, his own narcissism, etc. It’s also possible the reason why the stake president hasn’t met with her is due to “legal” reasons. We know that everything that is done in the Mormon church gets the blessing of their legal team/scribes. Just like the “reporting” of abuse, the handbook requires local authorities to call the church’s legal advisers first meanwhile the harm continues. In any case, it’s completely inexcusable for the stake president to not meet with her. This is LDS leadership roulette at it’s worst. Best of luck to Tonya and her family for being put through this despicable act of unrighteous dominion.

  2. This was so horrible, my hands are shaking as I am commenting on this. Bishop L. needs to be reprimanded and pulled from his calling. He clearly has no respect for women or for the privacy that his calling demands. Bishop L.’s openly rude and misogynistic behavior has me fearing for his congregation and what he says and does behind closed doors.

    Please update us as to whether or not Tonya’s stake president has bothered to get in touch with her. His non-response is as horrifying as Bishop L.’s shameful rants. I am concerned that Tonya has been threatened in some way as her May 2nd post has been removed from her FB account. If Tonya’s stake president continues to be elusive regarding this matter, or if Tonya has been threatened, please provide email addresses of the area presidency over the Herriman Stake so that we can send letters of sincere concern. Thank you!

  3. I am so sorry! This was so triggering for me. Your Bishop and mine must of gone to the same training. So, so painful. Wishing you peace.

  4. If her bishop would reflect and look at his own last name, then this situation will be different. He needs to change his name to bishop apathy.

  5. Tonya seemed reticent to share any thoughts or feelings beyond what she shared on Facebook. John provided most of the commentary with just a lot of “right, right, I agree, yeah” from Tonya, starting and stopping any real comments (yeah, i mean……). I wondered if she was trying to minimize the damage to her reputation in the community while fearing future retribution like a “court of love” if she shared any tangible thoughts. I applaud her for her courage to bring attention to this issue and also encourage her to continue speaking her truth out loud, regardless. To Nathan, bravo for providing partnership over patriarchy in your home.

  6. I am appalled by Bishop L. His behavior is one of the many reasons so many people think Mormons are weird. Think of all the people reading his judgmental comments along with the people who supported him. I live in an area where there are few Mormons. Trust me when I say that mormons don’t have a good reputation in my area and the public verbal abuse by this bishop and his supporters just validates people’s ideas about Mormons. It’s no wonder people think the Mormon church is a cult. Also, there is no excuse to treat anyone condescendingly, especially by a pastoral leader.

    Also bishop L needs to study church history much deeper than Mormon apologetics/lds.org and come to the realization that many of the so called “lies” about the Mormon church are actually true and amazingly the lds church archives almost all of the evidence supporting the many disturbing church history issues in their own storage and research facilities.

  7. Tonya – you seem like a very strong, amazing daughter of God, so I’m sure you don’t need my support , but I feel compelled to stand next to you and John and condemn the response and actions of this so called shepherd of God. I’m sure this bishop has good qualities and is not all bad, but the way he represented himself and treated you is one of the most disrespectful, demeaning responses I have ever come across from someone who is supposed to lead as Jesus Christ would. My prayers are with you and you are 100% correct that there are major problems with the church, historically and now and I pray God will continue bringing these things to light through brave souls like you, my wife, John Dehlin and so many more. I also hope your husband has seriously condemned this Bishops actions to his face and makes sure his actions are known to higher leaders that can take swift, immediate action to either pull him from his position or put him through the necessary disciplinary actions the church should have in place for things like this. Prayers are with you and your family. You have a tribe and support in us. Travis and Melissa Holding

  8. This makes me mad in so many ways! Not only does he shame her on Facebook, he reveals confidential information. This Bishop needs to be released. If he thinks she is the only one in his ward feels the way Tonya does, he lives under a big rock. Even TBM’s feel that the church has a long way to come as far as a voice for women in the church. If I was in his ward, his comments would be enough to push me over the edge and I would not return until he was released, or ever. If he is not released for this, then it is another big red flag that there are so many problems within the church and they protect the MEN and let them get away with crap like this.

  9. Thank you so much for sharing your story…wow, that bishop is unreal. I had a bishop-then-stake-president who was just like him when I was growing up in SLC..hearing the way he talked to you reminded me of my old bishop-stake president. I felt like he was back in my ear, talking with so much arrogance…yuck. There are lots of good guys as bishops, but there are many many like this one. The church has no way to weed them out, no training, no system to prevent such abusive behavior. So they will always be around..luckily more and more of us are leaving. They will soon be very lonely dictators.

    Thanks again for putting your story out there !

  10. Thank you Tonya for your courage in sharing this painful experience. I can’t imagine the far-reaching consequences for you and for your family of this Bishop’s public bullying and violation of your privacy – and of his betrayal of your trust in the position that the Mormon Church has given him. You and your family deserve much more than an apology from him and from the Mormon Church. I was touched by your asking, as the mother, to hold your baby during a church blessing – and felt sick to my stomach at the love withheld from you and your family when you were refused.

  11. I think this conversation should not have taken place in public. There are women who think they should be equal in everyway but physideally and spiritually and mentally. I have always said that if a woman can-do as well or better than men and if that is what they choose. I do not know why God give the priesthood to men or why women where chosen carry the children. However and for what I have seen women are more nurturing thereby tempering life’s lesson and to raise their children in the gospel a thing which is rightous. To be honest the women stay and raise their families even as father’s disappear. To me that is the most importantly of the gospel that you are the gluethat holds the family together. There has been a lot of change over the last 70 years and used our prophet bringing about change as fast as the Lord gives it to him.And one more thing men are gross and we need refined women to baLance us out.You don’t really want to be equal to men do you because it is a long talk to get there. Let’s wait a bit to see what happens for God is giving us revelation fast as we can handle it and the Lord knows your desires.

  12. But, Reid, remember that it is men who have given us the scriptures (Even B.H. Roberts in his book, about the Book of Mormon, said that it is very likely than Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon.), and men want a god who is male. How else can men be controllers of women? Why didn’t women write the scriptures? The only reason you believe there is a god is because a man told you. Like in today’s politics, there is a strong Christian movement that tells us that Trump has been ordained to be president. And more and more people believe this because evangelical Christian males say so.

    Tonya seems a bit fearful of the Mormon priesthood shown by her not being eager to answer John’s questions. She should be fearful. The Church is probably thinking about a disciplinary court on her right now. I thought it interesting that an earlier podcast on the Witnesses, as a JW talked about such a court with 3 white men but the LDS Church has how many? 15? Stake Pres, two counselors and 12 high councilmen? And they are white men. Never women.

    Thanks, Tonya, for having the courage to be on this podcast. “Do what is right, let the consequence follow”. And, “That which can destroyed by truth, should be.”

  13. Regarding the Bishop’s spelling/misuse of homonyms and pronouns: there is a disorder, which he has clearly demonstrated in his lengthy responses. Aside from available guides he could use, we should let this go. Let’s concentrate on his anger, his desperate need to shame, and his willingness, at the expense of the member, to ‘stay in the [sinking] boat’.

    1. …Sorry, maybe that was too harsh, but that was initial reaction late last night after watching this. I was absolutely appalled by this Bishop’s abusive and un-Christlike attack on a member of his “flock” that he’s suppose to love and care for without judgement. I want to add, thank you Tonya for taking the higher road than this authority-drunk Bishop. I’m very sorry that you were a victim of ecclesiastical abuse and in such a public and demeaning way. Your story should be an Ensign article on the principle of “Unrighteous Dominion” warned about in D&C 121. A more perfect case study than this there could not be.

      34 Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?

      35 Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson—

      36 That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.

      37 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.

      38 Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God.

      39 We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.

      40 Hence many are called, but few are chosen.

      41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

      42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile

  14. There is something about this Church that seems to foster unrighteous dominion. That’s how I read this Bishop. That and an immensely smug sense of superiority.

  15. A woman will never be equal with a man insofar as she continues to value the essence of manhood as the highest good. The very expression of wanting equality with men by having what men have is to acknowledge man’s superiority and the woman’s inferiority. And a man’s lack of value for the essence of womanhood as a lower good while getting what he wants from her will always keep him content, never wanting what she has, and wondering at the woman’s desire for what he has. Both man and woman are to blame. The man will try to dominate the woman while the woman will try to master the man. True or not, who ever wrote the story of the fall was on to something. It’s unfortonate Mormons have hardly tried to understand that story and worse, imposed their doctrine on it. And with certain temple changes it is now likely lost to Mormons for good. It’s a shame. If anyone was to get it, it should have been Mormons. That story holds the key to all this trouble with “inequality”. IMHO.

    1. I don’t know any women who believe that the essence of manhood is the highest good, even if those women can see that the authors of the scriptures thought so, and those women are religious, and they picture God as a man.
      I don’t know any women who believe men ARE superior, although they know that from an early age males seem to FEEL superior.
      Most women know that sex is their main, but not only, value to men. If you are thinking there is such a thing as “penis envy,” you are nuts.
      Most girls understand while still very young that most boys look down on them and would not want to be girls.
      Many young girls think most boys are stupid or mean, and resent boys’ domineering and condescending attitudes toward them.
      The only reason the average girl would want to be a boy is for the greater freedom from restrictions and the sense of entitlement and superiority that a world run by men gives him.
      The only reason the average woman would want to be a man is for acceptance into the “good old boys” network where financial and political and other forms of power and influence are concentrated.
      Women often try to master men when their men cannot manage self mastery.
      What I “get” from the STORY of Adam and Eve and the Fall: Ever since God ran out of ribs and had to take one from Adam, men have had a strange suspicion that women owe them something. Ever since Eve listened to a snake, women have been accused of being delusional. Ever since Adam listened to Eve and fell from God’s presence, men haven’t been able to hear to a word women say.

  16. The universal problem at the crux of this discussion is the continued influence that patriarchal and sexist religious traditions have on the cultures of the world. As long as people believe that ancient religions are their doorway to heaven, and as long as they believe that ancient religious writings are the word of God, ancient attitudes will continue.

    Look at our own Christian legacy:
    Genesis 3:16, “. . . thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”
    I Corinthians 11:3 (Paul), “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”
    I Cor 11:7 (Paul), “For a man indeed ought not to cover his head; forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God, but the woman is the glory of the man.”
    I Cor 11:8 (Paul), “For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.”
    I Cor 11:9 (Paul), “Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.”
    I Timothy 2:11-12 (Paul), “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”
    I Corinthians 4:35 (Paul), “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”
    Ephesians 5:22-24 (Paul), “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

    A predominant idea since ancient times has been that a man is entitled to respect just because he is a man. It was acceptable for him to expect, demand, or coerce respectful behavior from a servant, spouse, children, and subordinates in order to take charge and remain in charge. While most men in modern society today realize that they need to earn the respect of women, in the Mormon church, all males over age twelve are given some degree of Priesthood authority, along with the respect attached to it, simply as a right of passage, while Mormon girls or women have no such entitlement. Perhaps this accounts for the attitude of Bishop L. and other leaders like him.

    If men run the church and the world, then women can only gain true respect and equality in the church or the world through them. Men have respect for those they see as worthy competitors, those who can measure up to, or exceed, them. As women have competed for and earned positions in traditionally male domains (the university, the workplace, the halls of congress, the board room, the military, the church hierarchy, and professional, competitive sports), men have been forced to acknowledge and respect their abilities outside of the kitchen and the bedroom. As with any marginalized group, women first have to secure political power in order to have their voices heard. Only as they have the power to influence or put forth legislation that addresses women’s issues, only as they take more powerful positions of leadership in our governmental, political, educational, business, financial, military, and religious institutions, will they feel that they have an equal say, that they are properly and equally represented, and that they are being seen and treated by men as truly equal, although different.

  17. John, this is my least favorite Mormon Stories episode yet. In fact, I’d have to go as far as to say I hated it. I thought the tone of discussion was extremely bias, unfair, and even cringy at times. You also spent way too much time and effort putting in your own opinions and conjecture while the interviewee sat there and said “right, right, right,…” , rather than allowing her to speak her own commentary. DISCLAIMER: I am an ex-mormon who agrees that there is much within the Mormon church that is unfair to women. With that being said, there is much that is wrong with this interview and topic. Here are a few points:

    First of all, you are creating victimhood where there is none with the whole Facebook aspect. Facebook is only as public as you make it, yet the whole time you’re talking as if this bishop went on some TRULY PUBLIC forum, UNINVITED, and spilled her personals for everyone to see. When, actually, the day this girl “friended” her bishop on Facebook, was the day she gave him permission to be a part of, and comment on the posts that she makes. Regardless of yours or anyone’s opinion on whether his comments on Facebook where befitting of his position as bishop or not, he was totally within the realm of what should be an understanding of what Facebook is and how it works.

    Next, this bishop is made out to be some evil guy who blatantly attacked this girl. The worst I think he did was possibly cross the line with some confidentiality breaches which I agree should be called out. However, with the way you set and built things up I was expecting to hear some pretty awful stuff; but to my own surprise, after you read aloud his initial and subsequent statements, I found them to be very much, shall we say, expected? All the while, you’re making a show of being completely surprised and disgusted at what he wrote. This, of course, has me confused, so I go back to listen again thinking I must have missed something. But no. All he was really saying is what I think any defensive TBM would say if you happened to poke them the wrong way. I could agree that maybe as a bishop he should have been more professional and taken a different approach, but if this would have been any other TBM not in a leadership role, it would be nothing more than a person making some rebuttals on Facebook she didn’t agree with. That’s it. End of story. But with how much offense you’re taking to his actions and statements as a bishop, one would think you, John, are still a TBM yourself; and we all know that’s not the case.

    And let’s not forget, she DID open up this “can of worms” herself on Facebook. FACEBOOK! With the bishop as her “Facebook friend”!! We NEED to take responsibility for our own actions. I myself don’t post things on Facebook without the understanding that it IS semi-public and that there IS the possibility of my comments being bashed and derailed by even my own “friends” and family. Everyone should understand this.

    Furthermore, I didn’t see anything wrong with his general theme of men and women being different and playing different roles. But you made him out as being some kind of misogynist for saying it. Look, I’m all for equal opportunity between men and women; at least as far as it’s possible; but let’s be real, men and women ARE different; are they not? And that is not to say at all that one is beneath the other. Just that they ARE different and that they compliment each other. They fit together like two puzzle pieces to make a whole; literally and figuratively.

    Even if you don’t agree with such ideals, you have to acknowledge, everything this bishop is saying is through the lens of a TBM. Why would you expect him to say otherwise? You can’t expect the Mormon church or its leaders to think the way you think otherwise they are no longer the Mormon church as we see it; and they are no longer TBM’s. But then maybe that’s the goal of your podcast now? To tear them down? Not that I would care too much being an ex-mormon myself, but a lot of your content and approach is seemingly more and more “anti” over time.

    The overall tone of this discussion seems to suggest that “one side” can have their view points and opinions, but ‘how dare!’ the “other side” voice their view points and opinions. Which is just WRONG. If we don’t have true dialogue, then what do we have?

    Lastly, I didn’t appreciate how you read the bishops comments aloud with an overly aggressive tone making it out to sound worse that it would have if you would have just read it more neutral. This part was so cringy, I had to stop it to take breaks several times. Very unprofessional and bias.

    I’m sure everything I’ve said could be mistaken as me defending this bishop wholeheartedly. Well I’m not. But we need to see and treat things as they really are. Or, at the very least, try to see and approach beyond our own biases.

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