Bullying In The Church

Editor’s Note: When I was a young girl, there was a group of older boys that lived in my neighborhood and went to our church that bullied me relentlessly. I cannot even describe the pain and fear that these boys caused in my young life for so many years. Even today after all this time I still get a knot in my stomach when I think about them. Bullying is a very serious subject for me and my heart breaks when I hear about stories of other children or teens being bullied. When I read this article, it made me so sad and so angry at the same time. Parents, please know what is going on in your child’s life so that you can help them if they are being bullied but more importantly, don’t think your child is so perfect that they would never bully someone else. Be aware of how your child is treating others and teach them that they have power to affect others lives whether it be positive or negative. We are all so worried about our own child being bullied but I think one of the best ways to stop bullying is to make sure our child is not the one doing the bullying. If every family did this, I think we would see a huge decrease in the amount of bullying going on, especially in the church.

Well now that I am done ranting (sorry, I do this when the subject is close to my heart) here is an article from about how you can recognize, prevent, and correct bullying at church.

Upset Teenage Girl With Friends Gossiping In Background

“Do you know where your daughter is?”

It’s a heart-stopping question when you don’t know the answer. And the statement that followed it was one that Judy Wells wasn’t prepared for:  “Her school friends are telling us that she is planning on committing suicide. We are sending a unit over to your home right now.”

What could have possibly sent such a vibrant and beautiful teenage girl so close to the edge?

Wells’s daughter was standing on the roof of her home and contemplating jumping because she was being bullied. By the youth in her ward.

“The girls took her journal and read it when she left it on her chair to go to the library to get a Book of Mormon,” Wells recalls. “Then, when she came in, they were quoting it.” It was only one of a hundred things those young men and young women did.

“When she went and sat down next to some girls, the girls would get up and create a new row and leaver her sitting all alone.” They invented fake physical relationships she could have had with boys and teased her about them, leaving notes about it on classroom whiteboards for others to find. They even harassed her outside of church, calling her to borrow equipment for a party she wasn’t invited to, and later, calling again to say how glad they were that she wasn’t at the gathering with them.

You can read the rest of this article here.

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5 Replies to “Bullying In The Church”

  1. There are also adults in leadership positions that harass and bully also. It is not limited to young people. It’s unfortunate that our family knows this first hand. Church is “the” place se should feel safe and welcome and at times it is the least safe and welcome.

    1. While this is true, I think we can generalize your statement to include adults in general. Singling out one group tends to ignore the prevalent problem in the masses. It’s a problem where I live and it took a longer-than-necessary time to be reactivated because of the cliques that were formed and the good ol’ buddy system. I completely agree church is where we should feel safe, and it’s unfortunate when people don’t feel that way. BUT, we do have to remember that we’re all imperfect and that we all have internal struggles and we ALL have the atonement and that you’re not going to find a perfect person anywhere in the church today (see Come, Join with Us- Pres. Uchtdorf). I hope through increased awareness we can all take steps to stop this problem.

      1. Try telling that to a young person who is going through it. We can teach we are all imperfect and quote this and that but when you have a child going through it, it’s hard to look through rose colored glasses. I do hope this will not continue but these are the last days…

  2. Bullying is difficult to manage because perpetrators often don’t internally classify what they are doing as bullying. This is even true when the perpetrators have been or are currently victims themselves, as is often the case. They are usually trying to fit in or advance socially and they see this kind of activity as a way to achieve that goal. Since bullying is defined by how the victim experiences it, bullying has endlessly variable definitions. It’s not always clear that what someone is doing is bullying.

    Having been on the receiving end of bullying as a kid (yeah, even at church), I detest blatant bullying and have little tolerance for pranks. But I also have my blind spots. One day my wife pointed out to me that how I handled a situation with one of our children was a form of bullying. It took her saying that for me to see it.

    But I am concerned about going overboard on this topic. It is important to keep our kids safe without becoming so overprotective that we damage our children in other ways. Having to cope with a certain degree of unwelcome behavior helps prepare us for adult life. Good judgment is required in dealing with bullying.

  3. Disheartening to know this is happening in church of all places!!!
    Knowing that this happens is quite saddening especially when we are taught “to be like Jesus” and I know for a fact that he would not condone this behavior.
    makes me think of a primary song IFJESUS STOOD BESIDE Me…..maybe everyone should be learning that song NOT just the primary

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