Chapter 8
Home Up

VOLUME 1, 1995

Chapter 8

Notes for Chapter 8


Jack C. McCallister was born 24 July 1945, in Las Vegas to Jack C. ("J. C.") McCallister, Sr., the youngest of seven children, and Geneva Tapley McCallister, the oldest of eight. The couple also had a daughter, Angela, eighteen months younger than Jack. They were loving but strict parents; like most men of his generation, Jackís father was sometimes emotionally distant. Sometimes he would explode in rage, particularly if the children were disobedient; and although his discipline was not physically cruel, both Jack and Angela learned to placate him and to conceal their own feelings from him.

The family joined the Church in Oklahoma City in 1953, where Jack grew up. J. C. was a furniture salesman for James A. Cullimore, then President of the (pre-stake) District, later a General Authority. The Cullimore-owned furniture store was the largest in Oklahoma City with three branches. Cullimoreís sister Bernice was married to Wallace Leonard Mercer, an employee, like J. C., in the furniture store, and one of the first bishops when the Oklahoma City district became a stake. Kelvin Cullimore, Jamesís son and also an employee in the furniture store, succeeded Mercer as bishop.

Jack remembers his father coming home from work "disgusted at all the politics" and especially at Kelvinís persistent humiliation of Mercer. "I donít understand why he just rides Wallie," J. C. would say. "He says the rudest things to him." Jack, recalling this comment now, remembers Bishop Mercer telling him that he had stayed in the large Cullimore home to recuperate from a foot operation when Kelvin was young and wonders if Mercer attempted to sexually molest him. Jack has talked to two men who were teenagers from his own ward who acknowledge that "Mercer came on to me but I wouldnít let him do anything." Three others admitted to being fondled.

Jack also wonders if his sister, Angela McCallister Hodge, was a target of sexual abuse from Mercer or someone else. When she is healthy, she functions well and has been a Relief Society president; but she has been diagnosed as manic depressive with emotional problems, suicidal thoughts and some attempts, frequent hospitalizations, and memory losses.

At the time, however, he remembers the feeling in his home as being one of liking, respect, and sympathy for Mercer, not only because he was unjustly persecuted at work but because he was the bishop, and "we need to treat him right." Jack recalls that Mercer made frequent visits to the McCallister home as bishop. "He was like a lamp sitting on the table, he was just there so much, always laughing and joking around in the living room." Jack says:

My abuse was not violent. It was deceptive. It was not only sexual abuse. It was spiritual abuse. When I was eight years old and my family joined the Church, I was taught to believe in Joseph Smithóthat when he was fifteen years old, he was privileged to see God the Father and his son Jesus Christ. He saw heavenly messengers. When I was fifteen years old, I was being sexually abused by my bishop, Wallace L. Mercer. I didnít see any divine messengers. I couldnít even translate my own writing. And I had to endure this in silence and in secrecy. I felt so totally alone. I felt that I had to lead a double life. In one life, I was a youth leader, at the podium, acting like everything was fine during the daytime. Then there was the other life.

Jackís immersion in Mormonism was profound and total. He recalls, as a five-year-old, asking his mother if Santa Claus was real. He was stunned when she told him he wasnít. Panicked, he asked about the Easter bunny and burst into tears when she confirmed that the Easter bunny likewise didnít exist. Braced for the inevitable he asked, "So God isnít real either?" and was confused when his mother insisted that God was real. Jack grew up praying to God, as he was taught; but a much clearer teaching was to obey Church leaders, particularly to look up to and follow the bishop. A bishopís authority was "beyond question. His motives and behavior were always pure".1

He was the one person in my immediate life to whom I owed my unconditional obedience since he was the one called by God to be the spiritual leader. It was my understanding that he would always be directly inspired to know the mind and will of God for me. I thought these chosen ones had already been tried, tested, and proven worthy in every way to pattern my life after. I considered them to be the ultimate role model in mortality. A bishop sits as judge on all actions that take place in the personal lives of each member. The relationship a member has with his bishop is symbolic of his relationship with God. In the personal and private interview process, the bishop represents God when asking for an accounting of personal obedience to Church mandates. Failure to do everything the bishop wanted of me meant rebellion, disrespect to God. Strict total obedience was the only way to earn Godís ultimate love and approval.

I participated in the youth organizations growing up. I memorized the required thirteen Articles of Faith and graduated from Primary at twelve. I became a member of the Aaronic Priesthood. I had 100 percent attendance four years in a row at the Sunday meetings. I wanted to please God by being and doing what he wanted. I received the Boy Scout "Duty to God Award" that took four years to qualify for. I did my best to honor and sustain the leaders God had chosen. I received and valued my patriarch blessing. I expected, planned, and prepared to serve a two-year mission. I prayed, read the scriptures, and was attempting to gain my own personal witness of Jesus Christ. I tried hard to please God by doing, doing, doing. Failure to be perfect meant rejection by God, my leaders, and my parents. I tried so hard to live up to these expectations of perfection.

I was privately interviewed in the bishopís office annually from the time I was twelve, which is the custom. The first time I was asked about "masturbating," I had no idea what he was talking about. After a brief description, I could tell it was some kind of big deal and I was glad I didnít know anything about it. It sounded weird and gross to me.

Then I was thirteen on my first real overnight camping trip with the Church Scout troop. We were separated into younger boys and older (fifteen and over). After dark, the older boys had a campfire, and we younger boys were lying down in our sleeping bags, watching the fire. I could hear them laughing and passing around something that looked like a red coffee can.

I asked my friend, a year older, what those guys were doing over there. He was embarrassed that I asked the question. His response was, "Donít you know? They do it on every campout." The questions came to my mind: "If itís wrong, then why are they always doing it on Church camping trips? Doesnít the Scoutmaster know? Do these guys know itís wrong?"

The feelings of curiosity left and were replaced by feelings of fear and nausea. "I donít want these guys touching my penis. I hope I donít have to be in that group someday. These guys are really gross. Theyíre the same ones that prepare and bless the sacrament on Sunday. I wonder if the bishop knows?"

I went over the cliff of self-discovery myself about a year after that. I was overwhelmed with shame. I was too embarrassed to talk with anybody about this secret sin. It seemed as if I split apart into the outward appearance of "commandment keeper" and the bad side. That was the "real side." Inwardly, I couldnít deny that masturbation felt better than anything I could imagine. The cycle of shame had begun. I prayed so many times for God to help me overcome my weakness I stopped praying altogether. What was the use? This thing was either more powerful than God himself could control or he gave up on me a long time ago because of my futile though sincere attempts at complete abstinence. I felt alienated from God, detached. I became so depressed, I thought the only way I was ever going to control the big "M" problem was to die.

Time passed and I was almost sixteen. Bishop Mercer called me one night about 7:00 PM to come to the church. He wanted to talk to me. I knew it was important or why would he call me in the middle of the week without notice?

We were the only ones at the meeting house. We shook hands and he put his arms around me. He told me how much he loved me and how much the Lord loved me. He felt directly inspired tonight to call me down to his office. He said he had something really important to talk to me about. It was an honor to have a special, private interview. He asked if we could pray together before we talked. He said a lot of really nice things about me to God. I was embarrassed to get so much attention and recognition. I felt very special and very humble. It was one of the most beautiful, heartfelt; eloquent prayers that Iíve ever heard on my behalf, asking the Lord to bless me, watch over me, care for me, and assuring the Lord of what a fine wonderful young man I was. While he prayed, he reached over and put his arm around me and pleaded with the Lord to bless me with wisdom and understanding and on and on. Then we sat down in two chairs in front of his desk. He pulled his chair up really close to mine, looked me straight in the eyes through his pink-tinted bifocal lenses. I could see he still had tears in his eyes from the prayer. "What sincerity!" I thought "Maybe some day I can learn how to talk to God with such powerfully impressive prayer language." I was really touched. I had a real low self-image back then. I was skinny. I wore glasses. All the girls liked my guy friends better than me.

Then after a long pause, he finally said, "How are you, Jack?" He leaned forward and started asking me the usual interview questions: "How are your folks? Howís school going? Are you keeping all the commandments? How about your personal worthiness? Are you morally clean?" Then he said it; "Are you masturbating?" I didnít say anything. I felt too ashamed and embarrassed. He said he understood how hard it is growing up and the changes your body goes through.

I didnít want to answer him. I didnít know how to answer him. I felt trapped. I could feel my body flushing with the heat of frustration. If I lied to him, I lied to God. I would go straight to hell. If I said, "Yes," my secret would be out.

While I was trying to decide how to answer the question with the least risk to my eternal soul, I started to cry. I cried from the deepest part of my gut. How could I be so wicked, so imperfect? What was wrong with me? How could I ever face God or any of his chosen leaders with such a horrible sin crushing my soul? I felt overwhelming shame and rejection.

He leaned forward, put one hand on my knee and the other on my thigh. He ran his hand up to my genitals and it rested there in cupping shape. "You have a beautiful body," he said. "Itís nothing to be ashamed of. I can help you with your problem." Then he unzipped my pants, reached into my underwear, and began to fondle my penis. I was too stunned to react; too confused to resist; too unprepared to stop him from doing whatever he felt inspired to do on my behalf to purge my sins from this contemptible body.

I couldnít figure out what was going on. He was the bishop. I was the obedient but unworthy servant. He was Godís chosen leader on earth. Whatever he did was directly authorized by God. My thoughts raced around. Was this divine intervention and I was receiving a hands-on blessing? Was this a part of some special ritual to celebrate the onslaught of puberty? Was this the secret handshake preparing me to overcome my problem? I was so embarrassed. Was I being tested, taught; teased, or tortured? 1 couldnít understand, but I was grateful when the ceremony finally concluded and my problem possession was returned to its rightful owner. Of course, as in all church activities, we had a closing prayer and just the regular handshake in parting.

Whatever Jack was doing for the next three yearsóand he was energetically involved in school activities, Church responsibilities, dating, and a part-time job, the sexual abuse was a black shadow accompanying an apparently normal and happy adolescence. Jack felt no attraction, physical or sexual, to Bishop Mercer. Mercer was a heavy man, probably weighing more than three hundred pounds. He sweated easily and wore a pungent cologne. Most of the abuse took place at night, and most of the time it was in Jackís own bedroom while his parents slept on the other side of the wall in their own bedroom or sat in the living room.

Bishop Mercer would arrive at the house about 10:15, after Jack had retired, anywhere from twice a week to twice a month. He would greet Jackís parents as they watched TV or talked in the living room, and then ask, "Is Jack in his room?" His parents would reply cheerfully, "Oh, yes, but heís probably not asleep yet, go on in. Heíll be glad to talk to you." Jack remembers:

I remember the sickening cologne he wore every time he hung over me. He would kneel beside my bed, stroke my back and neck for a few minutes, and then reach his hands under me as I lay on my stomach, turn me over like a board, hold me in a cradle position, and massage my penis. I would never open my eyes. He would put his cheek up against mine and start breathing real hard and sweat his stinking cologne on me, as it would drip from his face. I was afraid to open my eyes. I didnít want to see what he was doing. I didnít want to hear what he was doing. And most of all, I didnít want to feel what he was doing. He never manipulated me to the point of orgasm, but just short of it. He would leave me frustrated and confused. Was this the test? To see how much I could endure before wanting more or acting like I wanted more? I would always contain myself, never say anything, shut off my feelings, detach emotionally, and ignore him until he would finally stop, pull up my covers, kiss me on the face somewhere, tell me he loved me, and assure me that everything was okay.

Jack struggled with his confusion:

During the day and especially at church, Mercer would act the part of a righteous, humble servant of God. I tried to rationalize what he was doing as being above and beyond the call of duty and totally unselfish to be so active in helping me with my problem. I thought the object was not to respond with an erection when he would stimulate me. I was always disappointed when my penis betrayed me. But in retrospect; it was really clear that Mercer wanted me to respond sexually to him.

What did his parents think?

My parents never questioned what went on. They felt proud, I think, in a way that the bishop was taking such an interest in me; but also, they were concerned. If I needed this much of the bishopís time and attention, I must have really serious problems. They encouraged me to be grateful for his time so freely and frequently given. I certainly must have a special mission to fulfill because of all the quality time with him, I was told. They sure hoped I appreciated what he was doing for me. They explained to me that a bishop is tirelessly inspired to spend time with those who need him the most. I should follow his example and render compassionate service to others someday.

Bishop Mercer and my dad worked together every day. Iíd been told he was a wonderful man. My mom said he was one of the most Christ like individualsócaring, kind, and considerate. I had no way of knowing anything different. Iíd been taught to love, trust, respect, look up to, and obey the bishopsóthat they were all called of God.

I knew I needed "help" because I was guilty of this terrible sin. So I was totally grateful to Bishop Mercer for speaking gently and kindly to me and being willing to help me. But I was totally confused. I hated my body. I hated myself. And I hated Bishop Mercer.

Another source of confusion was that Mercer gave him expensive presents (he bought Jackís class ring for him), so Jack "had feelings of loyalty and obligation. He kept telling me I owed him something. I guess thatís another reason Iíd lie there and endure the Ďtest.í" Jackís part-time job as a student was working at a menís store near the Cullimore furniture store, and Mercer would take him to lunch nearly every Saturday. Jack resented Mercerís overwhelming presence, his domination of Jackís free time.

Mercer also tried to eliminate Jackís natural attraction toward girls, an attraction that Jack credits with possibly preventing him from developing same-sex attractions. Jackís first girlfriend was Judy, an LDS professorís daughter from Oklahoma State University, about seventy miles away. Because of the distance, Judy would sometimes stay overnight with Jackís family, a solution to the distance problem that both sets of parents approved of. Jack recalls:

It was my first teenage love, and those first sweet kisses and my completely spontaneous reaction to her and desire to be with her gave me something solid to place against the confusion I was feeling from Mercer. It wasnít simple, because I didnít know whether what was happening with Judy was normal or not. She liked to kiss. I liked being hugged. It was affectionate and romantic, not exploitive or overtly erotic. I didnít want to push any boundaries. Locker room talk offended me. I was very protective of my sister Angela and wouldnít let anybody talk vulgarly around her. I liked the affection. Sexuality was just one aspect of it. We steamed up our share of windows in the car but it stopped with kissing and hugging.

The bishop did things she didnít. He would interview me continually regarding my moral worthiness. He would tell me how wrong it was to kiss, pet, and fondle a girl before marriage. Sexual intercourse was as serious as murder. He assured me, however, that with his help, I would be able to control my lustful urges. I felt used, betrayed. I wanted to be free. I didnít want any part of him. He was jealous of the time I spent with Judy. He would ask, "Are you going to be with her?" And then when I got back from dates, heíd be waiting in his car, at midnight or one in the morning. Heíd call me into his car and grill me about the date. "Do you get an erection? Do you ejaculate?"

It got so that Iíd case my street before Iíd turn into it If I saw his car, Iíd park somewhere else and slip into the house without being seen, or else Iíd come from an unexpected direction and dash into the house before he could stop me.

When Jack was seventeen, he broke up with Judy, not because he didnít like her but because, confused and conflicted by Mercerís abuse, he could not let the relationship develop naturally. Thirty years later, after Scottís disclosure and after confronting the effects of abuse in his own life, he found her again to give her the explanation he had owed her since age seventeen for rejecting her. She was teaching at a university. "We sat in a parking lot, talked for an hour, and cried for forty-five minutes of that hour," he said. "It was an emotional breakthrough to finish off old business with her."

Next, he deliberately dated Karen, a Catholic student who had moved into town from Dallas. Jack felt the need to have a girlfriend but felt that dating a nonmember would be less confusing "because I wouldnít get as close." She was a sophomore, and he, now senior class president; had developed the role of being "a stand-up comic." Easy mannered and outgoing, he conducted assemblies and class activities, participated in drama, and was on the debate team. Mercerís night-time abuse in Jackís bedroom continued as did his post-date "interviews" in his car outside the McCallister home.

Jack was in love with Karen and enjoyed being with her. "I felt normal affection, normal reactions with her. She made me feel good. I wanted to marry her, but I was so confused that the only way I could think of to do it was to persuade her to have sex with me so that sheíd get pregnant. Iím so grateful that she was resistant." Karen also perceived that religion was a very divisive issue for them, and they broke off the relationship during Jackís freshman year at Central State University in Edmond, Oklahoma. He dated no one and made average grades but emotionally "I was teetering on the brink of suicide. My thinking was so crazy. I was saying to myself: ĎIf sheís not attracted to me, then I guess the only person who is is a pervert."í Jack summarizes his confusion:

When Iíd go to church on Sunday, Iíd see Bishop Mercer sitting there between his two counselors and hear the things people said about what a fine man he was, and I began to think, "Maybe what happened to me last night wasnít real." Maybe reality and fantasy became mixed up for me. In the daytime, I didnít want to believe what had happened the night before because it didnít make any sense.

Jackís parents still basked in the glow of their special relationship with Bishop Mercer, who worked hard with them to see that they made the long trek to Salt Lake City to be sealed in the temple at a time when very few did. To J. C. and Geneva, it was a sign that they were very special to Bishop Mercer, especially since the task was barely completed before Jack turned eighteen in July 1963.

Somewhere, Jack found the strength even when his world was shattered by breaking up with Karen, to resist Mercer. Out of his anger and pain, he finally reached the breaking point.

I confronted Mercer one night in my bedroom. I was so confused, but Iíd finally caught on that this wasnít for my benefitóthat he must be getting something out of this. Whatever my problem was, his solution wasnít helping at all. That night I finally confronted him. I said, "I donít want you to come near me. I donít want you to touch me. I donít want to have anything else to do with you ever again."

"Or youíll what?" he asked.

And I said, "Or Iíll tell."

And then I realized how completely heíd been using me. There were no more expressions of concern or love. He just laughed. He said, "Who will you tell? Iím the bishop. Youíre only a kid. Who do you think theyíre going to believe?"

I felt the hate and contempt in his voice. It made me furious. I said, "Iíll print it in the newspaper if I have to if you donít leave me alone."

"Well, youíre as guilty as I am," he rejoined. "Youíre as much at fault as I am. You let me do this to you for the last three years.

The shame shifted to me. He was right I didnít stop him. I didnít resist. I didnít even try. What was wrong with me? What was there about me and my body that sexually attracted another man to me, especially a chosen man of God? I must really be bad because I had tempted a bishop, of all people, beyond his ability to withstand. So he began to transfer his shame to me. You can imagine how that would confuse a kid, but I was determined to stand my ground. Then he began to cry and tell me how sorry he was. He really did love me. He wanted me to forgive him and be his friend again. He said, "You probably just think Iím some old queer." I told him, "I donít know what to think except that I donít want you to come near me again." He tried to hug me and say good-bye. I told him again just to leave. "I donít want to touch you and I certainly donít want you touching me."

Part of Jackís confusion was trying to come to terms with his religion, a normal developmental task for teenagers but one terribly complicated by Mercerís abuse:

I had Mercer and the Church all mixed up together. I tried to break away from both of them simultaneously. When I confronted Mercer that night, I basically threatened him: "Tell me the Church isnít true or Iíll tell what I know." instead, he said, "You probably think Iím just some old queer, but the Church is true." As a result, I couldnít disconnect completely.

I was a true believer. As a teenager, I read the Joseph Smith story and really identified with a young, sincere person who was seeking the truth. I always prayed. One of the things I prayed from age fifteen on was to overcome my sexual urges. I never got an answer, obviously, because I was asking the wrong question. I had feelings for God that were separate from my feelings for Mercer. How could God call a pervert to be the bishop? My faith was something that steadied and helped me, but it was also part of the enormous confusion that overwhelmed me as a teenager.

From that time, I never let him come close enough to have any contact with me. He would come around with a hangdog look and tell my parents: "I just donít know what Iíve done to Jack. I wish I could apologize." They put a lot of pressure on me to see him, to talk to him. I absolutely refused. When I saw him come in the front door, Iíd go out the back door.

Fortunately, the pressure eased. Before the end of Jackís freshman year at college, Mercer moved to Tulsa and was released as bishop. He kept writing warm notes to Jack: "Come to Tulsa; weíve got a lot of cute girls up here." In 1995, Jack was surprised to discover among his papers a letter from Bishop Mercer, a single-spaced letter two and a half pages long, dated 12 June 1964. It was chatty and rambling but returned often and obliquely to their relationship, often in generalized religious terms, both as exhortation and encouragement:

ÖHow is the job working out? Have you made any plans for school? I hope you understand, I am not trying to be nosy but I am still interested in you and what you are doingÖ I want you to know that if there is anything which I can do for you, even though we are a few miles apart, I would love to do it for you. Jack, I am so proud of you, and I donít want you to think I am trying to butter you up. I mean it from the heart.

Life is funny at times and it seems like it is almost impossible to cope with, but we are and will be given the strength to overcome any difficulties which may arise in our term here on the earth. Sometimes it is hard to realize that the tests and trials we are forced to go through are for our best good. It is these things which make us strong and build within our selves the ability to accomplish our great mission. But it sure does get hard sometimes.

I guess I have been rough on you and you donít understand me, but I want you to know how proud I am of you. I realize each day what a blessing it was to have such a choice spirit as yours as a member of our priests quorum. I have watched you grow and develop and seen your leadership ability. I guess I am sounding like another former bishop, when I talk about you know when I was bishop, ha ha, but I hope that you know what I mean. My heart is full of love and gratitude for my Father in Heaven, for the wonderful youth of our Church and especially those of whom I feel so close to. Itís hard to explain but you are a part of me. Your courage and strength build mine. I donít want to seem like another lecture from Mercer but I want you to know and to feel that someone does care.

Gee, young man, hold close to the wonderful mother and dad and sister which you have. They are choice and love you so much. I miss you all so much. I know that you could have shot me sometimes which I donít blame you, when I would come by so much. I guess I did wrong but I felt the need of family and you filled that empty spot and still do.

You know itís great to be in the presence of good people. And you are the greatest. I hope that you are keeping up your chin. I know that I have no right to tell you what to do but I still want you to hold that head high. You have nothing to be ashamed of Jack. God has given you many talents. He has given you a fine body and a clear mind. You have been charged to develop this mind and body and to build a spirit temple and not a tavern....

Well, I just want to drop you a line, but it looks like I have been preaching again. I am sorry. Look ahead and find the beauty and richness which is yours. Donít look back only with profit on what has passed with the idea to make improvements on the new....


The letter is signed, "Love, Wallie" and the handwritten postscript reads: "Come up and stay. I will see if I can find a good-looking gal? Ha Ha."

Jackís parents were pleased that Bishop Mercer was still taking an interest in their son and encouraged him to accept the invitation. Finally, the whole family went to visit the Mercers. Mercer introduced eighteen-year-old Jack to several girls at church. Jack got a date and went back by himself in a couple of weeks, staying overnight with the Mercers.

Early the next morning, Mercer came into the room wearing only his temple garments and, for the first time, got into bed with Jack and began to fondle him. As usual, Jack kept his eyes closed, pretended to be asleep, and detached from his body to prevent any physical response. But he could hear Mercer pulling tissues out of the bedside box as Mercer ejaculated.

Jack repeated his visit one more time. Again, the next morning, Mercer joined him in bed. This time, Jack heard the door creak and opened his eyes in time to see Mercerís wife closing the door. "I felt terribly ashamed but I thought this must be part of the bishopís wifeís duty. They were always talking about how the bishop gets so close to the people he serves and loves them so much." This time, however, Jack never went back to Tulsa and successfully avoided Mercer when he came to Oklahoma City.

Jack summarizes:

I think Iím really lucky that I met such fine young women as Judy and Karen. What if Iíd been socially and emotionally isolated? Would my hunger for affection have turned me toward Mercer? As it was, I ended up with no attraction to men, but also no trust, no respect, no bond, and no fraternal feelings for men either. It hasnít been until some therapeutic work Iíve done on the post-traumatic stress syndrome as a result of my Vietnam experiences that Iíve been able to feel brotherhood with other men.

After Jackís freshman year, he transferred to Brigham Young University where he was reassured to find that women seemed to find him attractive and he "dated compulsively." He recalls being shocked, however, when a coed was sexually aggressive, and he "literally jumped away." Jack was startled to see Mercer appear suddenly on campus.

I had mistakenly thought if I never saw him again, if he didnít exist, then what happened to me didnít exist either. He stood in front of me, wanted to talk, wanted to see how I was doing. I muttered that I was late for class and jogged away. "How about tomorrow?" he called. I shouted, "I canít. Iím really busy tomorrow."

Jack had counted all his life on going on a mission, but he almost immediately ran into misunderstandings with his new bishop, Kelvin Cullimore.

Kelvin was only about ten years older than me, a real iconóa young successful business executive, a big man on campus, married to a beautiful woman, and with a model family. Kelvin also had a sarcastic and controlling sense of humor. He either liked you or he didnít. Iíd also developed a sarcastic personality, which passed for being witty and humorous.

When I turned nineteen and he called me in for a worthiness interview, I didnít want to go. The only kind of bishopís "interviews" I knew about were with Mercer, and the thought nauseated me.

Kelvin gave me this icy feeling from the moment I entered. I had a chip on my shoulder, and he responded. His first words were, "Jack, Iím not going to baby you the way the last bishop did."

A big alarm went off in my head. I was thinking, "Youíd better believe youíre not."

We went through the interview questions and I was really belligerent. He asked, "Do you want to go on a mission?"


"Are you worthy?"

"Probably not"

"Why not? Are you morally clean?"

"Well, that depends on how you define it"

"Do you masturbate?"

I decided that I wasnít going to be ashamed because that was what had put me in Mercerís power, so I said, "Yeah, so what?"

"Thatís against Church standards," he snapped.

"Well, it beats rape," I retorted.

"Thatís against Church standards, too."

I said, "Well, take your choice."

He announced, "Youíre neither worthy nor prepared to go on a mission, and until you change your attitude, youíre not going."

The interview was over. Even though I didnít really want to go on a mission at that point, giving up the dream of a mission that Iíd had since age eight was very painful. I wanted to teach the gospel and learn to love people. But I felt that I wasnít worthy and couldnít be worthy because I knew what that "worthiness" process involved and I just couldnít take someone else touching me and asking me about my sex life. My parents were devastated. Iíd been sort of inactive after breaking up with Karen, and theyíd been hoping that a mission call would be the kind of realignment I needed.

Back at BYU, during his junior year, he met Merradyth Trunnell, a friendly and pretty girl with sparkling eyes and a radiant smile. (She remembered waiting on him at the pizza place where she worked when he had come in as a sophomore with his date.) Ed Pinegar, their bishop in BYUís 55th Ward, assigned the nine men rooming together in Jackís house to see that Merradyth and her sister April had rides to church. Merradyth impressed Jack immediately with her naturalness, her cheerfulness, and her open friendliness. She didnít flirt or play games. She was genuinely happy, working hard at a part-time job, as he was, to get through school. His roommates jeered, "The oldest of sixteen children; you know what sheís here for," but the idea of large families didnít scare him. They had known each other for only a couple of weeks when she paid him "the best compliment Iíve ever had. We saw a young mom with a baby in stroller and one in either hand, and Merradyth spontaneously said, ĎWe could have cute kids together!í Then she caught herself, was embarrassed, and tried to apologize. I took it as one of the most sincere compliments Iíd ever been paid. It went right into my heart."

Jack was deeply drawn to her wholesome goodness after five years of the double life he had been leading. Yet he tried to break up with her because "she deserved a returned missionaryóthe best, not somebody like me." His resolve lasted "about six hours." At his part-time job in the BYU bookstore, he was telling a colleague about breaking up with Merradyth. The colleague said, ĎYour face doesnít know what youíre talking about. You canít say her name without smiling.í I turned around and looked at myself in the mirror. My face went beet red. It was true. I proposed to her that night."

They became engaged in October 1965. Jack went to Bishop Pinegar, prepared to drop out of school, save money for a year, and serve a mission if the bishop said so. He was surprised to find the bishop "putting me first and saying, ĎNow, let me get this straight. Youíre engaged to this wonderful girl, and you both love each other, and you want to get married. So why does it make sense to leave for two years? It sounds to me as if marriage is what you need to do."í Jack took Merradyth home that Christmas to meet his parents, and they were married 7 April 1966óEaster weekendóin the Salt Lake Temple. At the wedding reception in Oklahoma City, Bishop Mercer stayed for the whole evening, working in the kitchen in what Jack interpreted as a gesture of ostentatious humility, but still maneuvering to get a photograph of him and Bernice with Jack and Merradyth.

In September, Merradyth got infectious hepatitis and was bedfast for ninety days. She could not register for classes as fall began. Jack struggled, successfully he thought, to bury his terrible secret. During the summer of 1967 when he heard from his parents that Bishop Mercer had died unexpectedly while vacationing in Utah, he felt a sense of great reliefóbut it was only temporary. It gnawed at him that he had not been fully honest with Merradyth:

I felt that she had married a lieóthat I appeared to be something on the outside that I wasnít on the inside. So I told her. We were driving back to Utah from a trip to Oklahoma. I was scared. On the one hand, I was just plain scared about talking. Wasnít this speaking evil of the Lordís anointed? And on the other hand, I was scared of Merradythís reaction. I was sure that one of two things would happen. The most dreaded scenario was that sheíd say, "We got married in the temple, but youíre not who you represented yourself to be. Our marriage is over," or else sheíd say, "Well, I canít love and respect you any more but we were married in the temple, so weíll stick it out together, but I never want you to talk about this again because itís so disgusting." Instead she said, "I understand. It wasnít your fault. Donít think this makes me love you any the less." I had a hard time believing that she could be so loving and accepting. In fact, on some level I was sure that she was covering up her real feelings. She had to be disgusted by me.

Like Jack, Merradyth hoped that Mercerís death meant that the episode was behind him and could be forgotten. "It all fit together," she remembers. "There was never a thought of not believing him." She also remembers thinking, "So thatís why he was always so angry whenever Bishop Mercer came to see us at BYU or telephoned us" which he did every few months. "Iíd thought he was just being a really nice bishop, but I could tell Jack didnít like him, and there was always so much tension whenever Mercer was around. Both of us had a lot to learn about how sexual abuse works." For one thing, both of them somehow felt that Jack would be able to forget it faster if he didnít talk about it. Instead, it just meant that two of them were keeping the gnawing secret.

Jack graduated from BYU in August 1967 in behavioral science with an emphasis in political science. He had joined the Marine Corps during his last semester and was mustered in during October 1967. Merradyth was pregnant with their first child, Tara Anne, who would be born in February 1968. Jack recalls feeling, "I couldnít fulfill a mission, but Iíll be a good man, a good Mormon, a good example. I hoped that serving in the Marines would make me feel that Iíd proved my manhood and also guarantee, in some way, that nobody could ever take advantage of me again. I didnít realize until later that it was also a death wish, because I still didnít feel worthy to be married to someone as good as Merradyth."

He was not a star trainee. He longed to be with Merradyth and their coming child; he felt no connection to the young, single Marines around him. He couldnít concentrate on the training and ended up last in the class twice, to his commanderís disgust "They teach you not to feel, just to obey and react," he remembers. "Iíd had plenty of practice doing that but it was just getting harder to concentrate on the task at hand." Knowing the casualty rates of each branch, he deliberately chose infantry, which had the highest mortality rate, as his first choice, tanks as his second, and supply as his third assignment option. It was important to his uncertain sense of manhood that he not try to avoid danger, even for Merradythís sake. With enormous relief, he received his assignment to supply. "At least I was willing to die for God and country," he recalls thinking.

Tara was six months old when Jack was sent overseas. "I was totally bonded with her," he remembers. "I unconditionally loved her. The morning I left, I remember how sick and numb I felt to lean over and kiss her good-bye in her bassinet, not knowing if Iíd ever see her again."

Jack discovered during the year he served outside Da Nang (October 1968 to November 1969) that there was no safe place from the incoming 120 mm rockets. He would work supply in the day, then serve as a "reaction platoon" commander at night, "sitting on the hill with men you donít know, waiting to go out in the dark to back up a hit anywhere along the line. We were the backup until they could get the helicopters there." At one point, he maintained that nightmarish schedule for ninety straight nights. Because he didnít drink, he often had the assignment of night perimeter officer, patrolling the line and thinking, "If the Viet Cong knew how drunk these guys were, how doped up, theyíd overrun us in a second."

When he finally went to the company commander and asked to be relieved, the commander processed the request instantly. Two nights later, a new lieutenant led out a suicide mission and many of the men in the group Jack would have been in were killed or wounded. He had to deal with the guilt of surviving, the guilt of wondering if those men would have been alive if he, an experienced platoon leader, had been in charge instead of a green officer.

"I was real disillusioned about Vietnam anyway," he recalls. "We werenít there to win. We were getting killed and wounded for nothing. I was scared the whole time I was there. I felt so isolated." Even at church, the isolation persisted. Another bishop, L. J. Housley, had promised that if he kept his temple covenants, his life would be spared. "It was a great relief," he admits, "but I had the feeling sometimes that I was a nemesisóthat because of this promise, the shells were killing or wounding the men next to me. We didnít all have equal odds of surviving."

Jack came back with no visible wounds; but the invisible ones were so deep that in 1993 he received 100 percent permanent disability for post-traumatic stress syndrome.

He had a year left in the service, which he spent at Camp Pendleton, mustering out in July 1970. Scott was born the same month. They moved to Missoula, Montana, where Jack worked as a very successful traveling salesman for a cement company, hating the days on the road and the nights away from his family.

1 had a company car, and expense account, and the responsibility of entertaining customers. Other people envied my job. I hated it, especially the nights. I was entertaining customersóbuying them drinks at bars and lounges, watching them pair up with the girls. I had to make jokes and act like the life of the party but really I was so lonesome. I liked to dance, but I was aware all of the time of the invitations dangling in front of my eyes. If Iíd ever been unfaithful to Merradyth, I donít know how I would have lived with myself. I knew when to play dead and when to run; and when I could tell that people were getting drunk enough not to notice me, I would just slip out and go to my room alone.

Shanan Brye was born July 1971, Amber Patrice in July 1973. Jack was "promoted" to an office job in Oakland, California. He hated the confinement and work with numbers. Brechan Leigh was born in February 1975. When Jack turned thirty in July, he decided to act on his consuming desire to be self-employed. The family moved to Okmulgee, Oklahoma, that same month, where they lived for the next nine years. Jack had begun buying rundown real estate in Montana and fixing it up with a handyman friend, Chuck Timony, then selling it. He took the experience to Oklahoma and was successful enough to go into partnership with his father on a sixty-four-unit, four-story, seventy-five-year-old apartment building, the Beauclair Apartments, in Okmulgee just south of Tulsa. His parents had retired and were living in the building, managing the units, while Jack systematically renovated one apartment after the other. "It was very satisfying to take something messed up and make it better," he recalls, "and we were definitely off the fast lane. We didnít even have a car for part of that time."

Brittany Cayle was born in October 1976, David Barrett in October 1978, and Lindley Tennille in August 1980. They were thoroughly involved in church. (The ward met in Henryetta, seventeen miles away.) Jack served as ward mission leader for two years, 1976 and 1977. "Merradyth was so outgoing, and our little ward was so warm and welcoming, that we had lots of success," he remembers.

Jack describes this period of his life as living "on automatic pilot." Despite the joys and happiness of family life and church service, he now looks back and sees a pattern of arbitrariness and authoritarianism that he then classified as good parenting. "But a lot of it was anger, ready to be unleashed on my children when they didnít obey instantly. I didnít listen to them. I didnít respect them enough," he says. "I was raising them the way my dad had raised me."

He was called as second counselor in the bishopric in 1977. A woman in her seventies, in poor health, confessed that she had been involved in a sexual transgression when she was a teenager. Kenneth Herbert, the bishop, explained that the purpose of the court was to help this woman get some relief, to repent of her sin. Jack and the other counselor had never participated in a court, so they listened intently as Bishop Herbert explained:

"This is to be a court of love. Weíre supposed to bear one anotherís burdens, and this woman has initiated the repentance process. Iíve already talked to the stake president and he says that probably disfellowshipping her for a year is enough. You have to pay a penalty as part of the repentance process, and weíre here to support her."

Well, we were kids. This woman was old enough to be my grandmother. She sat there, trembling from the palsy of age and in emotional distress, crying as she talked about what had happened to her sixty years before. Iíll never forget it as long as I live. I trusted Ken Herbert. He was a compassionate, kindly person. He was completely supportive of this sister in mood and tone. As I listened to her, I began to weep. I felt so sorry that sheíd suffered for so longófifty or sixty years of misery and pain. Was I going to end up like this at age eighty?

And she hadnít transgressed. Sheíd been molested. She believed that sheíd consented voluntarily because she didnít fight backóand the Churchís position was "better dead than unclean," she knew thatóand because sheíd allowed it to happen more than once. But the man was older. Heíd overpowered her will with arguments and guilt and his own authority. I could see my own situation in hers. The more she grieved, the more torn up I feltófor her, but also for myself.

The deliberation was strange. The bishop has to make the decision, and we were basically just there to support him, since the stake president had already given him his orders. It felt so wrong to me. I said, "This lady shouldnít be punished. I want her to feel forgiven." Bishop Herbert explained again what the stake president had said and asked me if I supported him. Reluctantly, I said yes. When he told her that sheíd be disfellowshipped for a year, she thanked us and hugged us. I was just dying on the inside.

I told Kenneth Herbert, "I need to talk to you." After everybody else had left, I blurted out, "If this woman, after all this period of time, canít be forgiven of her sin, which is nothingónothing!ócompared to mine, then I donít know what I deserve. I deserve to be excommunicated. I canít be a member of the bishopric. I canít be a hypocrite."

I told him the whole story, with sobs just tearing me apart. Bishop Herbert said, "Jack, your situation was different. I donít think it was wrong." I was confused. How could it not be wrong?

He asked, "Could I have your permission to talk to the stake president?"

"Sure you do," I said. "I want to go through the humiliation now. I donít want to wait until Iím eighty years old so that my family thinks Iím one thing and Iím really something else. Iíll suffer my consequences now and get it over with."

The president of Tulsa Stake was Raleigh J. Huntsman, a senior vice president at McDonald-Douglas, who had been raised in western Montana. He was "a real nice guy, kind, compassionate, always laughing and making you feel good." Jack did not know what to expect:

I went home; it was late at night. I told Merradyth what had happened and said, "Our lives are on standby." She was completely supportive and reassuring, promising me that things would work out, that things were going to be all right. I lived in hell for the next week, until I got a call from President Huntsman. I went in, and he asked me to tell him my story. He listened. His first question was, "Who is this bishop?" As soon as I told them that Mercer was dead, he breathed a sigh of relief. Then he tried to reassure me that it was not my fault. He urged me to put it behind me, to be faithful, and to keep on doing good things. I felt an immense sense of relief; but as soon as I stepped out of his office, I was confused again. Why was my situation different from this womanís? Why was I being treated differently? How could it not be wrong? These were my leaders, men who dealt directly with God. But why didnít I feel clean or worthy? There must still be something I hadnít done.

Jackís next calling, in 1978, was as first counselor in the bishopric, where he served for two years. Then in 1980 Bishop Herbert let him know that he was next in line to be bishop. Jackís defenses flew up. "Donít make me bishop," he begged. "Iíll be a counselor. Iíll do anything else, but not this." Bishop Herbert soothed him, "Well, you have to go talk to President Huntsman anyway so he can release you as first counselor." In the office, President Huntsman said, "Youíre being released as first counselor, and God has called you as bishop." The wording stopped Jack cold. "How could I say I wouldnít accept Godís call? It was like a trap door opened beneath me. I didnít feel worthy; but I didnít see any honorable way out except through."

He served for three years, trying to be kind and compassionate like Bishop Herbert. "But Bishop Mercer had been kind and compassionate tooóon the outside. I didnít know who I was, the inside that felt so unworthy or the outside that everybody loved." His father, who had never served in a bishopric, was living out his dreams through Jackís success and secretly gave him advice behind the scenes. Jack writhed inside when his parents, trying to praise him, said repeatedly, "Wallie Mercer would be so proud if he could see you now. Just remember what kind of a bishop he was." Well, Jack did.

I didnít want to be a bishop. I didnít trust those shirts and ties. I kept wondering how many more of them like this are out there. As bishop, I felt I was living a lie. I kept thinking, "If the people in the congregation really knew who theyíve got for their bishop, they couldnít trust me. They wouldnít let me in the parking lot, let alone sit on the stand." The other fear I had was, "I wonder when Iím going to go weird? I wonder what there is about the calling of a bishop that maybe causes a person to act this way?"

Being a bishop was one of the most spiritual experiences of my life, but I found out firsthand how vulnerable people are when they come into a bishopís office with personal problems. I saw how easy it would have been for a person who had those tendencies to victimize someone who looked up to them. Being a bishop was a perfect set-up. I received more training in how to drive a car than I did on how to conduct worthiness interviews.

Jack didnít use the standard interview questions. "I was too embarrassed," he admits. "I just listened most of the time to whatever was bothering them. I always felt guilty because I wasnít doing my job. I rationalized that some priesthood official upstream, with more curiosity or attention to detail, would probe for the intimate details. But the risk of crossing personal boundaries was always there for me. It was an invisible line that I could have crossed any time. I knew how. Iíd been taught how by an expert."

Meanwhile, on the professional front, his father had started making small loans to people in the apartments, not even charging interest, and then found other people coming to him for loans. "We didnít even know it was a business," Jack says wryly. When they did, they got a license, were bonded, and opened an office in the apartment building. Jack found himself becoming a businessman as the front partner, "climbing into a suit and showing up at Kiwanis." Secretly introverted, he played the part of the gregarious salesman to perfection. Investors began offering him and his father loans to increase the sums they had available. Jack was elected to the city council in 1980.

"We really looked good from the outside," recalls Merradyth. "We were playing that Mormon game: We must be happy. Look how busy we are." But Jack was

just a dad passing through on the way to another meeting. On the inside, I still felt empty. My relationship with Merradyth was as good as I knew how to make it, but I felt that no one understood me on the inside. Merradyth used to ask me when I was real quiet and depressed on trips, "What are you thinking?" and it was always so embarrassing, because I was always thinking about the Mercer thing. I could never get it processed. I could never get past it. Was it my fault? Had I corrupted this man? How could Merradyth love anybody who had been involved in this kind of thing? Iíd always lie when she asked or get mad, or get sarcastic, and sheíd think I was rejecting her so sheíd stop talking to me, then I began to resent her because she was loving the person I wasnít.

Work was a way of distracting myself. We had borrowed almost a million dollars in Okmulgee and were poised on the edge of the big time, we thought. So I moved the family to Oklahoma City, just in time to meet the great oil recession of 1985.

In Oklahoma City, the McCallisters met five years of swift and punishing financial reversals. The family settled in Bethany in August 1984, a suburb west of Oklahoma City proper, and Jack discovered that he had borrowed his $4.5 million of new assets, opened ten branch offices, hired thirty-five employees, and now had attorneys with contradicting legal opinions. While he was dealing with a potential indictment from the Oklahoma Securities Commission, the "oil bust in 1985 put our lights out overnight. Everybody whoíd loaned money in wanted it out. We declared bankruptcy, and went through a hostile takeover of our company."

Stanley Powell became their attorney in 1985 but was not yet their bishop. Jack, floundering in business waters over his head, felt a desperate need for somebody to trust, and the Powells had been warmly welcoming the year they moved into the ward. In retrospect, Jack feels that they were suspiciously friendly. "Weíd never had anybody invite us and all eight kids to dinner," he recalled, "but Stan and Sylvia would have us to elaborate buffets with the best of everything." At the time, the attention was welcome and seemed natural.

Sylvia Powell, a nurse, had grown up in Henryetta, the small town in eastern Oklahoma where Jack had been a bishop. They had three children: Randy, Lindsey, a year younger than Brittany McCallister but a good friend, and Nicki. Stan Powell had graduated from California State University at Los Angeles in 1972 with a B.A., received a masterís of education in 1975 from the University of Oklahoma, and his J.D. from the same institution in 1978. He had been in private practice since 1978 and served as a municipal judge in Cashion, Oklahoma, from 1984 until at least 1994.2

To Jack, always scrupulously honest, the idea of not being able to pay his bills and, worse, being in violation of the securities exchange rules, plummeted him into "catatonic, suicidal depression" by mid-1985, a state that lasted for almost four years. "I was functioning strictly on automatic pilot. Iíd been asked to speak in sacrament meeting about how to prepare for future adversity, and I gave that talk the day after my company was taken over by hostile investors, some of whom were in the ward.3 I was so numb it really didnít make any difference. Only in retrospect does it seem bizarreóseeing the same faces in court and then again in sacrament meeting."

He felt humiliated that his family had to go on Church welfare because the temporary jobs he was able to find did not support the family. Then insult was added to injury when, on his birthday in July 1986, the bishop, L. Arnold Clinton, later a member of the stake presidency, called to inform him brusquely, "Iíve talked to the stake president about you in welfare meeting. Your family has received more commodities than anybody else and youíre consuming two or three times more food than any other family in the ward. You havenít done anything to work it off over here at the church. Until thatís done, there wonít be any other assistance from the Church." Jack tried to explain that they were also the largest family in the ward, begged the bishop "not to let my family starve because Iím broke," explained that he had not been available, because of his job, to work on the welfare project and that Merradyth, dealing with the family and helping Jack fulltime with sales could not do one more thing. It was no use. He reached new depths of humiliation and shame. It was a time of "no home, no money, no food, no job, and no hope."

Despite her own paralyzing terror when she could see "Jack dying before my eyes, Merradyth rose magnificently to the occasion. "You let the Lord guide you. You do what you have to do, and the Lord will take care of the rest," she said. "I had to pray, read scriptures, and sing hymns every hour just to get through that hour." Jack said, "She never blamed me." Despite what seemed to be the worst timing in the world, she had two more babies during this period: McKenzie Kaye in July 1988 and Tamryn Shay in March 1990. Shay had Downís syndrome and required extensive medical intervention, both as a newborn and for the next two years. Merradyth and five-year-old Tennille scavenged in dumpsters behind supermarkets (for still-edible food) while waiting to get approval for food stamps. The sheriff foreclosed (on their home) and began eviction proceedings, a fortunately protracted legal process during which they were able to remain in their home. On the afternoon that they were evicted in June 1987, Merradyth felt inspired to make a phone call to a friend in Utah who had been selling a house to someone who had gone bankrupt. The house was still vacant and the friend (instantly) agreed to let them "camp" in it.

This move placed them within the boundaries of Oklahoma City Silver Ward, a recently created ward housed in a newly constructed chapel in Surrey Hills neighborhood, twelve or fifteen miles west of Bethany. By paying the phone and utility bills, the McCallisters were able to live basically rent free for several months. Then, with baby McKenzie in her arms, Merradyth pled in person with the housing authorities for space in a new public-assisted program that provided vouchers in a number of neighborhoods. She began looking first closest to home; the only landlord who would accept the voucher was in the same neighborhoodóSurrey Hills. The children still had access to decent schools and such amenities as public parks, a golf course, a swimming pool and, of course, their own ward. They were there until they moved out in the wake of the hostility they felt just before Merradythís excommunication in 1994.

But they had arrived only after another bruising encounter with priesthood leaders. Jack was working in Edmund, eighteen miles north of Yukon, but they had enrolled the children in Mustang, ten miles to the south and were looking for a home in that vicinity. Jackís job at a computer company paid only a little above minimum wage and the family was scrambling. One afternoon, Curtis James McLean, the president of Oklahoma Park Stake, dropped into the office. They had known each other since they were teenagers and double-dated after Curtis joined the Church. He asked Jack how much he was making and condescendingly asked, "How can you afford to raise a family on that?" Jack felt humiliated. Curtis was vice president of public relations for Kerr McGee with a Ph.D. from Purdue "and I was bankrupt and on Prozac." Curtis followed it up by saying, "Until you move to Mustang, you need to attend Church in Silver Ward, where your records are. How can you expect the Lord to bless you if you arenít keeping his commandments?" He stressed that this was a policy straight from Salt Lakeóno exceptions.4 Again, Jack felt embarrassed and humiliated. Stan and Sylvia Powell came by, welcomed the family to Silver Ward, and urged them to attend meetings. Jack and Merradyth, knowing they needed blessings, began attending Silver Ward.

The next time they saw President McLean, he was in sacrament meeting issuing a stern rebuke to the members. Members had written letters to Salt Lake City about some kind of problem going on in the ward. All of those letters, he announced, had been sent back to him with instructions that they would receive no attention in Salt Lake. He was in charge of handling all of the complaints members in his stake had. Members had no higher authority. Jack noticed Stan Powellís satisfied look.

Depressed and confused as he was, the incident still made Jack uneasy. "It reminded me of a tyrannical father beating his wife and kids and yanking the phone cord out of the wall so they canít call 911," he remembered.

Powell was still Jackís attorney; but after the $10,000 retainer had been spent, as declared in the bankruptcy proceedings, there was no money for additional legal action. At Brittanyís baptism in October 1987, Jack was distracted from the spiritual nature of the event when Powell warned him before the ceremony that the Securities Commission wanted to press charges. In a meeting that same evening, Powell advised Jack to plead guilty and go to jail for three years. "You donít have money to defend yourself," he pointed out. Bishop Arnold Clinton nodded, "The three years will go by real fast. Weíll see to it that your family is taken care of." Jackís dad sat in silence. With the last remnants of Jackís pride, he flared, "Like hell I will. Iím no criminal, and theyíll have to prove that I intended to defraud. You know I didnít." Powell immediately backed off from the proposal. Clinton, unbelievably, had a few weeks earlier offered Jack a loan of $100,000 for Jack to go back into business, using his database of former customers. Jack refused. He told Clinton, "I hate it. It goes against my nature. I wonít do it again."

He recalls, "Thatís the only time I felt any pressure from Merradyth. We were squatting in a house we could be booted out of. She was scavenging for food. She begged, ĎTake the list and start the business again.í I yelled, ĎNo, I wonít do ití She never asked me again. It meant a lot to me that she was so sensitive to what I needed, even though I was about as dysfunctional as a human being could get at that point." Despite the hellish legal complications, their very complexity turned out to be a blessing. The district attorney in Okmulgee refused to file charges in July 1988, then the statute of limitations expired.

Jack should have felt relief. Instead, he plummeted further into depression and was hospitalized briefly for suicidal thoughts in late 1988. Face to face with the fragility of material security, he searched his soul. This time, he could not avoid facing his own sexual abuse and the lethal violence of Vietnam. He entered therapy and began the arduous process of excavating his buried past over the next three years as the family struggled for stability.

Merradyth was pitchforked into her own hell. Struggling to understand the dimensions of Jackís abuse, wondering how long it would take to get back to "normal," and desperately trying to help, she searched the library for books and articles related to abuse. There was comparatively little about the sexual abuse of boys, but many adult women survivors of childhood incest by their fathers had written their accounts.

Merradyth was stunned by how common the problem was and read everything she could get her hands on, feeling a profound uneasiness amounting almost to panic. These accounts sounded so familiar!

She had to ask herself if she was overlooking symptoms in the family.

The worst thing I could imagine would be if Jack was molesting our daughters and I was in denial. Iíd never seen or suspected anything, but could I trust my own judgment? I asked each of our six oldest daughters individually if Jack had ever approached them sexually. I assured them that they could trust me. Each one was completely shocked by the question. Each one exclaimed, "Dad?," and stared at me in total disbelief. I couldnít believe the relief I felt.

I immediately told Jack. He was shocked and hurt that I had suspected him. I explained, "Honey, usually the wife is the last to know or accept the reality. If there was a problem, I didnít want to be in denial. I wanted to know about it and deal with it for the sake of our children."

A few hours later, Jack came back and said, "Iím glad you asked the girls, Merradyth. If it would help anyoneís daughter, all dads should be run through the gauntlet." That was important. It meant that we could act as a team, totally united in trying to help the children.

Meanwhile, the older children were reeling from the financial insecurity, the disarray in the family, Jackís emotional absence, and Merradythís inability to take up all of the slack, coupled with the pressing needs of the new babies and younger children. Sixteen-year-old Scott was hospitalized for depression for five months in 1986. After he graduated from high school, he went to Utah for nine months. It seemed to do him good. He came back, anxious to serve a mission. Amber McCallister, younger than Scott by three years, spent most of her teenage years in an unaccountable depression that her parents never understood and did not know how to help. In 1990 when she was seventeen, Amber was hospitalized for depression and suicidal thoughts. Later, they wondered if she, too, had been sexually abused.5 The next year, Brechan was also hospitalized for depression.

The wardís youth are the bishopís particular stewardship, according to the handbook, and Powell involved himself heavily in youth activities. He was always present on youth campouts and frequently sponsored overnighters at his home. The ward members were thrilled with this bishopís obvious concern for their teenagers. Bishop Powell took a special interest in Scott who was exploding beyond the control that Jack, suicidally depressed, and Merradyth, overwhelmed and stressed out, could impose on him. The Powell home was a "time-out" place for Scottósafe, they thought, compared to drinking and doing drugs on the streets.

Bishop Powell was endlessly available to counsel with Scott, speak to him sternly about his responsibilities, and take him into his home when Scott was in trouble with his parents. One of these stays occurred when Scott and a friend were smoking marijuana in his bedroom. Jack was working in California. Merradyth called Powell in his combined roles as bishop and family attorney; at midnight Stan came to the house with the father of the friend and a police officer. Scott wasnít arrested, but he went with Powell for six weeks. Scott didnít date this episode but it must have been in late 1986 or early 1987. In the fall of 1987, Jack ordered Scott out of the house for again disobeying the family rules. Scott called Powell, who again picked him up and brought him home where Scott lived for another six weeks. The McCallisters were grateful and urged Scott to cooperate. Scott still has a behavioral "contract," dated 10 January 1989, that Bishop Powell wrote out for Scott to follow that he, Scott, and Jack all signed. It set six goals: "(1) Read 4 pgs. per day in scriptures. (2) Daily prayer. (3) Full tithe payer. (4) Speak with Mom re: financial help. (5) Do part around house. Be kind! (6) When tempted by drugs, contact bishop or dad."

In the summer of 1990, Scott, who was then twenty,6 left to serve in the England Birmingham Mission, where he had an ideal and idyllic experience. It was two years of love for the people, full commitment to God, intense spirituality, and great joy as he saw many of those he had taught develop testimonies and join the Church. He baptized over fifty converts and was considered a "super missionary" by the president and other missionaries for his attitude, love for the people, and unflagging commitment to serve.

At about this time, Curtis James McLean abruptly released Stan Powell as bishop and Sylvia as Young Womenís leader. Stan had served only two years and nine months (1987-1989) and was very upset not to serve three to five years, as was customary for bishops. He expressed his frustration to the McCallisters in a number of private conversations, complained bitterly about what a "demi-god" McLean thought he was, and carped about the incompetence of Neal Hancock, his former first counselor, who had been called to replace him. (He had earlier boasted to the McCallisters that he would be called as the next stake president or, if he made enough money on a big lawsuit he was prosecuting, mission president). Jack heard rumors that Powell "just wouldnít follow orders from Salt Lake" and remembers thinking, "The rest of us have to follow local leaders. I wonder why he gets his orders directly from Salt Lake?" Jack was also dismayed at Powellís ambition and vindictiveness.

Nor did the feelings of ambition ebb. Powell was not invited to give a farewell talk in sacrament meeting, but a group of his supporters sponsored a banquet, honored his achievements, and presented him with an engraved silver tray. Powell insisted, "Once a bishop, always a bishop," and corrected people who addressed him as "Brother Powell" or by his first name. He and Carter Green, the high priest group leader and a former regional representative, instructed all the Sunday School classes that former bishops should be addressed by their titles out of respect for their service. (Green went by "President" Green.)

Powellís next calling was as chair of the high priests temple committee. Jack was assigned to the committee and attended the first meeting, held at Powellís home. Three others were present: two were former bishops and the third had been in Powellís bishopric. A sixth committee member was excused. He was also a former bishop. Powell began by announcing that everyone was a former bishop so that the special powers a bishop received at ordination could continue to be exercised and so the members could follow their leadership. "To remind the members who we are, we should refer to ourselves and to each other as ĎBishop.í Donít you agree?" The first man, called on by name, quickly agreed. So did the second. Jack was in no mood for this game. When Powell posed the question to him, he responded, "No, you can just call me Jack. Thatís my name, and I donít need a title. And Iíll call you Stan. Iíd rather have you for a friend than a bishop."

Powell, looking frustrated, began again with the first man, asking him if he didnít think they should call each other "bishop." Again, when it came to Jackís turn, he balked. "Look, you guys can call each other anything that makes you feel better. My name is Jack. Itís easy to spell, and I donít need a title."

Jack was never invited to another meeting, but the confusion over having seven bishops, present and former, in the ward was causing so much confusion that President McLean made another appearance and ordered ward members to refer only to Neal Hancock as the bishop.

An apparently unrelated crisis pushed Jack away from church, weakening the strong bonds of identification he felt with the organization that had given structure to his whole life. McLean was released as stake president and was replaced by Leon M. Fulton, a geologist. During the summer of 1991, Brittany and Brechan McCallister attended stake Young Women camp. The girls had asked Merradyth to attend and, with a reluctant okay from the Young Womenís president, she did. Merradyth, accustomed to the disorder and turmoil of a large family, took more easily to the normal camp rowdiness than some of the stake leaders, teasing and joking the girls into a good humor. One afternoon, before an activity was scheduled to commence, the girls were running through the woods, seeking relief from the scorching Oklahoma heat by an impromptu water fight with squirt bottles. The adult ward leaders overreacted, called the girls to order, scolded them harshly, and threatened to cancel the rest of the camp. The girls, upset, "yelled back." In a gathering that night around the campfire and again in the next nightís testimony meeting, the scolding from leaders and the resistance by the girls who found it unfair continued. Stan Powell, who was present, listened intently to the exchanges but said nothing. The women leaders were extremely nervous, continually glancing at him. The leaders also complained to Silver Wardís current bishop, Neal Hancock, when he came up Saturday night to help dismantle the camp. On Sunday morning, the girls were planning to present their side of a yearís worth of complaints about overcontrolling leaders to the stake president, Leon M. Fulton, but the women leaders spoke first to Fulton. On Sunday morning, President Fulton called the Silver Ward girls into a meeting during Sunday School and chastised them severely. He did not allow them to speak, tell their version of the story, or ask any questions.

Jack, who had accompanied his daughters to the meeting, was appalled. Perhaps someone without Jackís deep-seated reasons for mistrusting authority would have been able to dismiss it as an immature display of temper and bad communication. But to Jack, President Leon Fultonís anger was a naked display of unrighteous dominion, designed to shame and intimidate. He described the meeting and his follow-up efforts in a slinging letter of rebuke:7

Stake President,

Remember when we talked together... about the girlsí camp issue? I asked, urged, and pleaded with you to please conduct an objective inquiry into the girlsí point of view of what happened at camp, since neither you nor I was there to observe first hand. I wanted you to approach the matter in the spirit of love rather than anger, when you had the time and willingness. Iím still waiting for your response.

As an imperfect father of ten children, I shared with you this fact. The greatest sorrows of my life come from the occasions when Iíve injured my children, both emotionally and physically, as a result of acting on my first natural response or from drawing "logical" conclusions based on hearsay. I stand as a firsthand witness to what I feel was the stake fatherís first natural response based on hearsay and directed to the children in Silver Wardís Young Women program. I say bluntly: in my opinion, you too are guilty of emotional child abuse, no matter how worthy your motives. I feel as if a great harm was done to the spiritual well-being of the girls that Sunday morning, the day after the girls came home from camp. The scathing lecture you unleashed lasted only an hour. The pain you caused will last a lifetime. What provoked you into thinking the girls deserved to be treated with such contempt and disrespect?

Regardless of my love for you from one brother to another in the gospel, I am greatly troubled by the subsequent harm that has been done to our children by other Church leaders as well. In my opinion, there is still unfinished business that needs your attention with the Silver Ward girls. How do you explain to them why the president of the stake, not their bishop, charged into the middle of an issue limited to the girls and their local leaders within the ward?

My unresolved questions to you are:

1. Why did you deny any of the girls a chance to express their feelings to you as an objective, compassionate leader either before, during, or after the emotional confrontation at girlsí camp?

2. Why were you unwilling to listen to them in the spirit of love and understanding? Instead you chose to command them to repent for something you only "heard" about from others with no background understanding. What really caused you to interpret what happened at camp as a serious sin, rather than as a youthful innocent inability to express their honest feelings of anger and frustration? Did you express a sincere interest in the problem as they felt about it? Why were their concerns less valid than others you chose to listen to before you confronted them that morning? What were the girls trying to draw the attention of their leaders to in the best way they knew how? Was their only purpose to bring awareness of personal relationship problems that could benefit from open discussion? Why werenít they allowed to focus on something that had the potential to heal their wounds of misunderstanding?

3. Why did you, in your official capacity as stake president, shame, brand, and label the young daughters of our Father in Heaven with your searing remark by saying, "No wonder you Silver Ward girls have the reputation for being absolutely the worst girls in the whole stake"? Could remarks like that from someone in authority contribute to the self-fulfilling prophecy by destroying their individual worth and self-esteem?

4. Why were you so eager to take sides in the misunderstanding between the girls and the Young Women leaders, rather than acting as an unbiased facilitator to promote peace through careful listening and to create an atmosphere of healing with an attitude of mutual respect?

5. Why did you prevent the girls from expressing their own feelings by conducting a one-way lecture on your interpretation of the commandment "to always practice unconditional obedience to Church leaders because they are called by God to rule over them and disobedience to them is the same thing as disobeying God"? Does that mean that priesthood leaders can, because of their perceived authority, insult, harass, demean, and humiliate with insensitive remarks? Does it mean that they are justified in using fear and intimidation to control the young minds of those with less experience who want to participate in the Lordís kingdom here on earth?

7. Why did you simultaneously accuse and pronounce them guilty of "failure to sustain the Lordís anointed" without first taking the time or interest to personally inquire into the circumstances objectively? What lesson does that teach about those who are called to serve in leadership positions? (There are those who are called and those who are mauled!)

8. Why did you fail to recognize the importance of teaching the girls that they are loved unconditionally and have the right to expect to be led by those who will gently nurture the young, the weak, and the powerless? Did the girls see examples of moral inconsistences and public hypocrisy? Are they to be victimized because of their age, gender, or Church hierarchy when they attend their Young Women classes and activities?

9. Why did you tell the girls they should unconditionally show respect and obey their leaders at "all times and in all places"? Could they have felt, over a period of time as a result of interacting with their leaders, that they were emotionally abandoned, neglected, and spiritually abused by them? Could they have sensed that they were being willfully deprived of their equal rights to the same standard of respect and the opportunity to explain their feelings and actions? Could they have gotten the message that a person is innocent until proven guilty only if she or he has the status of being an adult leader?

10. Why did you express the opinion that it is inappropriate and unwise for the girls to express their feelings of dissatisfaction with the conduct of others placed in authority over them? Does the Saviorís injunction, "Feed my sheep," in any way justify using force to cram the fodder down the throats of those who, for whatever reason, hesitate to eat willingly? Does that mean that the followers are left powerless to have and express their feelings and opinions? Will they be denied the freedom to exercise any self-determination and to experience the learning that follows?

11. Why were you so [insistent] to interview my wife Sunday after Church without any personal knowledge of the girlsí camp situation? Do you wonder why I insisted on being present as a witness, especially after coming from the meeting you just finished conducting with the young Women? You have no idea of the amount of self-control it took for me to just sit there and listen to you accuse her for her responsibility in the "Girls Camp Revolt of Ď91." Were you criticizing her for lack of willingness or ability to control the mind and will of her two teenage daughters at a Church-sponsored activity? What was your purpose for saying, "Itís parents like you who fail to teach their children correct principles in the home that cause the leaders to be disrespected and disobeyed when they are at Church"?

12. Why did you characterize this situation between the girls and their leaders as a right or wrong situation instead of as a timely challenge to resolve the inevitable human conflicts that are part of the process of learning to communicate with one another, necessary to perfect the divine nature in all of us?

13. Why did you tell the girls: "Of all the extensive years of Church service I have had, what you girls did to your leaders was the worst thing that I have ever seen or heard of... and the girls who were involved ought to be truly ashamed of themselves and beg the Lord and their leaders for forgiveness immediately.... You have no place coming to Church or any activities until you have repented completely"?

14. You told the girls to decide right now to "either follow your leaders or leave." Was their angry silence proof of a voluntary broken heart and contrite spirit or a reflection of your ability and desire to control the mind? Why did you choose to condemn from the very beginning without a single question of how the leaders may have provoked some justified angry behavior?

15. Why did you show so much compassion and sympathy for a single lost calf that froze to death in the snow, stranded outside the fence, because of your failure to leave the comfort and warmth of your own home to check on its safety? Do you remember telling us that story with tearful emotion in your opening remarks as a new stake president? What about the girls in Silver Ward who are now spiritually stranded outside the fence, freezing to death in the snow? Donít they deserve to be rescued from the same fate? Are they to suffer through life as unfortunate victims of a priesthood leaderís emotional response to a spiritual problem?

Why does it seem to me that there is a double standard of expectation for "leaders" and "followers"? How can a leader expect followers to tolerate the leadersí peculiar attitudes and actions without offering the same opportunity to those expected to follow? Does the means of swiftly accomplishing a unilateral objective justify the total spiritual domination of others? Why do tangible recorded statistics, calculated and compared during evaluation meetings, so easily eclipse the invisible, more subtle stirrings of the human spirit seeking meaning among meaningless things?

16. Why am I full of dread and anxiety when I enter the meetinghouse? Why am I constantly anticipating that either I or some family members can, for any reason, be jerked into a room and threatened by any leader who feels justified [in making a] self-righteous rebuke? Is it "edifying the Saints" to have a perfunctory opening prayer, only to [then] be unmercifully reprimanded and finally shunned? Was it realistic for you to think that our responsibility as parents included compelling our teenage daughters to conform to gospel standards so that they "donít cause trouble and be a bad influence on other youth in the ward"?

17. Why canít I find a comforting answer to the question of my daughter, who was blamed for "inciting" the "rebellion": "If President Fulton speaks for God, does that mean that God wonít listen to us either or try to understand all the facts before he judges us, not knowing or caring about whatís in our hearts"?

18. Why do I feel vulnerable around you and distrusting, in all things, at all times, and in all places. If I donít trust you, if I feel alienated from you, and if God called you to be my spiritual leader, how can I have any positive feelings toward the being who is supposed to have love and compassion for us all? How do I stop feeling as if Iím a hollow function trapped within an organizationóand become a vibrant member... [the] purpose [for which] it exists?

19. Have you ever felt abandoned, rejected, and betrayed by someone you trusted, loved, and respected? Have you ever felt truly wronged by someone sustained as the priesthood authority in your life? Where do I find any evidence of your unconditional love and understanding?

20. Why does it feel as if Iím walking on egg shells around priesthood leaders in general? Are statistics more important than souls? Do programs have a higher priority than people? Is absolute unconditional obedience with total subjection the purpose of our existence? With so much deceit around us, isnít it only wise to use cautious conditional trust in all our personal relationships? Only through mutual respect come love and understanding. Doesnít that have to be constantly earned, without respect to age, gender, or leadership hierarchy?

21. Is there a high degree [of] risk from being emotionally attacked by priesthood leaders with no obvious justification? Is the appetite to have absolute control over others more motivating than being long suffering and full of charity? Is my highest value in life to be a "human doing" instead of what I really am, a human being?

22. Why is it so difficult to accept the adversities of life as being milestones of mortality in which God reveals his true purpose for us? Can intense human suffering prepare us to be more responsive to the needs of others because we recognize even silent cries for help? What is gained from criticizing anotherís flaws, frailties, and failures unless the spirit of love wraps around those being condemned?

23. You told my wife she had no business being at girlsí camp with her daughters nor [was she] welcome there because she wasnít invited by the leaders. You said her influence there undermined the ability of the leaders to establish a relationship with the girls. You ordered her to never again attend any future activities without specific authority. Why did you forbid a mother to accompany her daughters (at their request) on Church-sponsored activities? Why is it not appropriate for a mother to share in a Young Womenís activity with her daughters? What is really going on behind the scenes that you want to prevent from being witnessed? Is the purpose of the Church organizations to strengthen families or strengthen itself at the expense of families?

24. Finally, what happens when these girls are forced to endure the tactics of mind control from their religious leaders? To survive, they will be forced to put up a false emotional front. Will they never know the freedom of expressing their spontaneous feelings? Donít they deserve to have a safe, nonjudgmental atmosphere in which to share their true feelings? Is it more important for them to pretend adherence to a gospel standard or to share their frustrations with leaders who donít comprehend the spiritual growth process?

Donít we need leaders to understand, not resent, the opinions of those they are called to serveóto encourage, not avoid, open, honest communicationóto learn, not lecture, with checklists verifying competence to their peers?

I sustain you in your desire to serve the Lord, not in actions of spiritual abuse.


Jack McCallister


Jack stopped attending church, a message that should have shrieked distress, coming from someone who was a former bishop. He requested no home teachers or other visits from priesthood leaders.

The fifteen-year-old inside me finally began to thaw out. I finally began to feel my anger, my fear, some of the feelings Iíve blocked. I realized that I didnít feel safe at church, and I gave myself permission not to go to, to put a safe perimeter around me. I wouldnít even let the home teachers come. I wanted to feel safe, because that fifteen-year-old had never been safe, even in his own bed in his own bedroom.

Stan Powell was still the familyís home teacher and stake executive secretary at the time. Jack, who respected Stan, told him candidly why he was inactive and why, because of the sexual abuse, he no longer felt safe at Church. He expected Powell to understand and respect his need to set some personal boundaries in an effort to heal from the repeated violations of his personhood as a teenager. Instead, Powell "sat on his couch and listened without saying a word. His face didnít change. His eyes didnít blink. There was absolutely no response." At the time, Jack didnít understand it.

Jack also fully disclosed his sexual abuse to his therapist, Lyle Burrup, of LDS Social Services, who remained his therapist from at least November 1989 to June 1993. At the first visit, Burrup asked Jack how much he could pay per session. Jack "feeling assertive for the first time in my life, said I was there because a bishop had molested me. I donít think I should pay anything." Burrup agreed not to charge him if that was the way he felt about it but would log each appointment down so Jack could see the value of what he was receiving. Jack saw Burrup once in November 1989, but he began regular visits in October 1990 that continued at monthly or semi-monthly intervals until June 1993. By then, the total stood at $1,065. Bishop Neal Hancock called Jack one Sunday afternoon and said he needed to collect on the bill. Jack explained the arrangement he thought he had with Burrup and was dismayed to learn that Hancock had been pressuring Merradyth to pay. She had squeezed three payments of $25 each out of housekeeping money. Jack forbade Hancock to approach Merradyth again about money and explained to her that, as a matter of principle, he felt the Church should pay. Hancock persisted: "Somebodyís got to pay it." "Look," said Jack flatly. "The Church did this to me by turning Bishop Mercer loose on me. The institution is accountable for the abuse. Itís accountable for the bill." Hancock dropped the subject.

After a few sessions, Burrup asked Jack if heíd be willing to talk to Merrill Woodford, another member of the Church in Oklahoma who had been sexually abused as a youth by an uncle, a Scoutmaster, and his bishop. Jack was willing, even eager, to meet with someone else who had been down the same road. The two men compared the traumatic effects of their sexual abuse and its lingering effects.

But Merrill told him of a double betrayal. His bishop had been a brother of a General Authority. In 1989, Merrill had gone to Salt Lake City to meet with another General Authority. He was hoping for comfort, resolution to his lifelong anguish, and some kind of assurance that the Church did not condone such behavior. Instead, the General Authority that he talked to was "rude and antagonistic." He challenged the veracity of some of what Merrill told him, advised him to put it behind him, and warned him not to talk about it any more. "He told Merrill that his job was to learn forgiveness and the other manís problem was none of his business," summarized Jack. There were no assurances that there would be no more victims. Merrill crept back home under the weight of an even greater burden.

Jack and Merrill felt a bond as survivors, and Jack, energized by knowing that he was not the only sexual victim of a bishop, began calling the men he had grown up with. That summer of 1992, two of them told him that they, too, thirty years before, had been sexually approached by Bishop Mercer between the ages of fifteen and eighteen, in the latter half of the 1960s. In both cases, they also said something like, "He tried something but I wouldnít let him do anything and he backed off." But in each case, they had never told anyone about it and they admitted that the shame still lingered. Also that summer, Jack, accompanied by his therapist, Lyle Burrup, told their new bishop, Neal Hancock, about his sexual abuse. Bishop Hancock, shocked and sympathetic, had exclaimed, "Heíll fry in hell for that!" The sense of being believed was a sweet relief to Jack, who responded, "I donít care about that. Thatís between him and God." And in a session the same day with Burrup and the whole family, Jack told his children that he had been sexually abused, apologized for having fallen into an authoritarian pattern as their father, and promised to "listen better."

Scott returned from his mission in November 1992. Jack recalls:

I looked like the classical inactive dad. People had written him letters about how his job was to come home and reactivate his dad. So a few days after he got back, he asked, "Dad, whatís the problem?"

I tried to explain it to him in generalities, and he said, "Iíve heard all the excuses on my mission and thereís not a good excuse."

So I told him that my bishop had sexually abused me when I was a teenager and I just couldnít handle dealing with the men at church anymore.

Scott didnít want to talk about it. In Scottís silence, Jack read disapproval. Scott began working in the familyís carpet cleaning business, dating, and settling back into post-mission life.

On 18 April 1993, Merradyth met with Bishop Hancock, and renewed a commitment to contribute to the missionary fund. Jack made it clear that Merradyth was free to make her own decision but wrote Hancock a blistering note: "I have changed my mind about being willing to support the efforts of any organization whose objective is to recruit unsuspecting potential victims into being sexually abused by perverted priesthood leaders that members are obligated to sustain but are helpless to defend against."8

The next spring in May 1993, Jack, who had joined a support group of former Marines who were also suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, went on a retreat, a warrior sweat ceremony based on Cheyenne rituals. It was a healing experience, producing the trust and sense of fraternal bonding that he had never before felt with other men. In that supportive environment, he disclosed his sexual abuse and talked about it with them. He felt emotionally renewed and returned to the family, prepared to begin going to Church again and feeling, for the first time since he was a teenager, that he might be able to rebuild his trust in his priesthood leaders.

He planned to attend church with the family on his returnóthe first Sunday in June 1993; but he and Scott were called out on a water-damage job to vacuum up a flooded basement. When they were having lunch after completing the job, Jack told Scott about the sweat lodge and how spiritually healing it had been. For the first time, he was explicit, telling Scott exactly what Wallie Mercer had done in those long "interviews."

Scott said, "Dad, the same thing happened to me. Thatís what Stan Powell did to me.

At the time, I thought I couldnít hurt any worse for myself, but it was like a trap door opened up and I fell into a whole new dimension of pain. I felt guilty. I felt responsible. I had been too embarrassed or too ashamed even to warn my son. Iíd thought it couldnít happen to anyone else. This made me afraid all over again. Whom could I trust? Whom could I possibly trust? I felt so bad for Scott. It ate my guts out, and all I could think was, "What if, for the next thirty years, he has to go through what Iíve gone through?"

Notes for Chapter 8

[Use the Back button to return to the original location.]

1Condensed without ellipses from an undated mss entitled "Reprinted from Personal Journal of Jack McCallister," actually not a journal but an autobiographical reminiscence, typescript, 14 pp., ending "to be continued." Additional material comes from a presentation sponsored by the Mormon Alliance at the 1994 Sunstone Symposium, Salt Lake City, and from telephone interviews.

2Stanley Powell, Resume [1994], Exhibit B attached to "Oklahoma Indigent Defense System, Trial Level Representation, Contract Bid Proposal... Fiscal Year... 1994," Kingfisher County, Oklahoma.

3A letter from Stan Powell to the Veterans Administration, dated 18 November 1991, certified that Powell was Jackís legal counsel in July 1985 when Jack "went before Judge Berry Ö to be released of his duties as president and owner" of Fidelity savings. "He was at that time under much stress and anxiety and thought unable to control his business by investors who took over the operation for said business." Jack was basically unemployed for several years except for a brief few months with Cooperative Computer Corporation in Edmund, Oklahoma.

4Ironically, after Scott McCallister married Catie Kennedy in 1994, they attended church in Cadeís parentsí ward in a different stake than that in which they reside and have received no pressure to attend their resident ward.

5Amber in 1995-96, after a troubled marriage, a divorce, and a second relationship reported that she was recovering suppressed memories of sexual abuse, Satanic rituals, and being raped by both Stan and Sylvia Powell and by other adults in the ward during the girlsí summer camps. She filed a report with the police in Logan County, site of the camp, in October 1995.

6Because of learning disabilities, he was one school year behind his age group.

7Open letter from Jack to Park Stake President Leon M. Fulton, 5 January 1992. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation standardized, some bold-faced type and underlining for emphasis omitted.

8Jack McCallister, Letter to Neal Hancock, April 18, 1993.