About Samuel Gardner
- Lived: 1932 - 1968
LDS mission: yes - - Central States
LDS temple marriage: yes
- Criminal case result:
Samuel Gardner Mormon Sex Crime Case Summary
Gardner was an LDS bishop in Oklahoma in the 1950s or 1960s. After his death, he was accused of sexual abuse by Jack McAllister, who alleged that the abuse occurred in 1963, when McAllister was 15.
“Jack McCallister decided to keep the matter secret. Even though he eventually became a bishop, his suffering did not end. To add to his own pain, he learned that his own son was also victimized by another Mormon bishop. In a letter to Gordon B. Hinckley, the current president of the Mormon Church, Jack and his wife, Merradyth, expressed their dismay that things were being swept under the rug.”
“Bishops begin interviewing children when they are young. Mormon children are supposed
to be interviewed by the bishop when they are eight years old to see if they are ready for
baptism. When a boy reaches the age of twelve, he is interviewed by a bishop to see if he is
worthy to receive the Aaronic Priesthood. This interview is conducted behind closed doors.
These interviews continue as the boy advances in the priesthood. Unfortunately, some
Mormon bishops have been accused of using these interviews as an opportunity to sexually
abuse young men. Since the bishop is supposed to have special authority from God, sexual
advances by the bishop tend to greatly confuse young men. Furthermore, it is very difficult
for those who are abused to accuse the bishop of wrongdoing. Consequently, they tend to
bottle up their feelings.
Jack McCallister, who was formerly a bishop in the Mormon Church, felt that it was very
improper for one individual to be alone with a young man and ask all kinds of questions
related to sexual matters.”
“Standard Church policy is that two priesthood officers must be present to handle Church
funds, a check and balance system to prevent financial error and inhibit the temptation to
steal. And the Church conducts regular financial audits. How many priesthood officers are
required to conduct a personal worthiness interview with a youth? One. And there are no
procedures for auditing the actions of these leaders for inappropriate behavior.” (Case
Reports, page 205)
“Jack McCallister was especially concerned about these worthiness interviews because he
himself was abused by his bishop in his office. He related the following:
“We were the only ones in the meetinghouse. We shook hands and he put his arms around
me. He told me how much the Lord loved me. He felt directly inspired tonight to call me
down to his office…. He asked if we could pray together before we talked. He said a lot of
really nice things about me to God… I felt very special and very humble. It was one of the
most beautiful, heartfelt, eloquent prayers that I’ve 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…. 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 powerful impressive prayer language.”
(Ibid., pages 167-168)”
“After some conversation about temporal matters, the bishop proceeded to discuss sexual
matters with him and eventually molested him. This abuse caused severe trauma to Jack.
“I couldn’t figure out what was going on. He was the bishop. I was the obedient but
unworthy servant. He was God’s chosen leader on earth. Whatever he did was directly
authorized by God. My thoughts raced around.” (Ibid.)
“Jack McCallister decided to keep the matter secret. Even though he eventually became a
bishop, his suffering did not end. To add to his own pain, he learned that his own son was
also victimized by another Mormon bishop. In a letter to Gordon B. Hinckley, the current
president of the Mormon Church, Jack and his wife, Merradyth, expressed their dismay that
things were being swept under the rug.”
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