Tonda Dale's statement of support

Michael Travesser / Wayne Bent at sunset

My name is Tonda Dale aka Tiara and I was one of the witnesses who was not allowed to testify in Wayne Bent's trial. This is what I would have said if I had been given the opportunity to testify:

I am 20 years old and have been a member of the LOR church since I was two-and-a-half. In the eighteen years I have known Wayne; he has never touched me inappropriately or made me feel uncomfortable. All his interactions with me have always been of a pure nature. From a very early age I knew he was a man of integrity, and I have always felt safe with him. I grew up trusting him and he has never broken that trust.

A.S., L.S. and I grew up together and were close friends. A.S. was my best friend as a child. When we were teenagers, in the winter of 2005 - spring of 2006, A.S. told me that she had been contemplating suicide. I told her that she needed to talk to Wayne about it and that maybe he could help her. She agreed to do that. This was months before she asked him for the experience of laying naked.

On July 13th 2006, Wayne sent out an email calling a meeting with the young people, my brother being one of them. In the meeting, he spoke to us about the angels of Revelation that were to pour out the seven last plagues. When the meeting was drawing to a close, he asked us to go to God and ask Him if He had anything for us. Later, both A.S. and L.S. told me that they were being called to be one of the seven messengers, but God didn't tell me that He was calling me to be one, and no one ever pressured me to be a part of the seven. I never felt the desire, nor did I ever ask for the experience of laying naked. Wayne never said anything to me hinting that I even should, nor was there ever any pressure or condemnation from anyone that I was not one of the seven.

I read in the trial transcripts where Dr. Elizabeth Dinsmore said, "…A.S. told me that she felt she was not one of the favorites and that others of the virgins were… got more attention, more positive attention from Mr. Bent, that he would touch them more, he would laugh with them and he would wave goodbye when they went. And she felt she didn't get as much of that attention." She also said, "…Her becoming suicidal, I think is partly related to that." I personally never saw anyone, not even Wayne, show any signs of rejection toward A.S. He showed the same tender regard toward her as he did toward the rest of us young people.

In 2007, I witnessed an interview between Ben Anthony, director of the National Geographic film about our church, and the parents of A.S. and L.S. In the interview, their mom told the bold-faced lie that A.S. became "suicidal" when Wayne was "going to force her to consummate with him." I knew the truth was that Wayne had no desire for the girls to come and lay naked on his bed, nor was he forcing them to consummate with him. I looked over at A.S. who was sitting on the couch vigorously shaking her head no. So after the interview I asked A.S., referring to her healing experience with Wayne, "You were suicidal before that, right?" And A.S. said, "Yes, it had nothing to do with it."

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