In a confession letter to his constituents, Brigham City Mayor Dennis Fife bared his soul Monday about an extramarital affair he said he terminated several months ago.
Before being elected as mayor to the Box Elder County city in November 2009, Fife said he served as a bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and counseled one woman who continued to seek him out after he had been released from his church calling.
"I am not assigning blame to her, but the confidential relationship that had developed during my counseling time with her as a Bishop continued," Fife wrote in his four-paragraph message to residents. "I am guilty of indiscretions that occurred during this continuation period."
For the past seven months, Fife said he has been going through a repentance process as outlined by his church leaders, which included ending the relationship and telling his wife of 40 years what had occurred.
"As your mayor, I am asking for your forgiveness and understanding," said the 67-year-old Fife, who according to the city's website has six adult children and 18 grandchildren. "I have the support of my wife and I am asking for your support as I continue to serve as your mayor."
On Friday, the Brigham City Council met in a closed session about the matter, and some members thought Fife should resign.
Rumors of the mayor's infidelity were spreading through the small northern Utah city in the days leading up to Fife's announcement about the affair. That buzz, Fife said, led him to seek the forgiveness and support of residents by way of a written confession.
Councilwoman Ruth Jensen is among the city officials who have voiced disappointment about Fife's infidelity. She said she questions whether Fife can continue to lead the city after the mayor told her of the affair just before Thanksgiving.
"There are a lot of residents who are not supportive and are upset at him, especially the women," Jensen said. "Even with this confession, people might forgive, but they won't forget. As a leader of our town, I don't see how he can get over it."
Fife hopes he can remain in office and finish his term, which ends in December 2013. He ended his letter: "Judge me as you will, but my conscience is clear and my commitment to serve is resolute."