Abuse not tolerated by Mormons: "My brethren, if... any guilty, I call upon you to repent."

I read the following story, Rites and wrongs - alleged abuse in the Mormon church published in the Sunday Star Times of Fairfax, New Zealand on Sunday, 10 August 2008. The story relates a sad story of three women that were abused by their spouses and in one instance abused by someone that had come to live with the family.

The stories are tragic, and it is true that every religion has some adherents that do not follow their leader's direction. However, this story certainly portrays a negative slant on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church or Mormons). While the author does point out the inadequacy with which some Mormon lay leaders approach these sensitive, serious, personal issues, the article fails to report on the LDS Church's official position on child abuse, spouse abuse, and sexual abuse.

The article gives the impression at the least that the Mormon church condones the behavior and at the worst that the offenders were driven to their terrible actions because of the Church's doctrine (a truly ridiculous assertion on the author's part).

In a worldwide broadcast the immediate Past President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mr. Gordon B. Hinckley delivered a powerful message on the subject of sexual abuse, child abuse, spouse abuse, and abuse of the elderly to the largest gathering of men in Church at the time.

He concluded his remarks saying:

"For a long period now we have worked on this problem. We have urged bishops,
stake presidents, and others to reach out to victims, to comfort them, to strengthen them, to let them know that what happened was wrong, that the experience was not their fault, and that it need never happen again.
We have issued publications, established a telephone line where Church officers may
receive counsel in handling cases, and offered professional help through LDS Family Services. These acts are often criminal in their nature. They are punishable under the law. Professional counselors, including lawyers and social workers, are available on this help line to advise bishops and stake presidents concerning their obligations in these circumstances. Those in other nations should call their respective Area Presidents."

Finally, with specific reference to spouse abuse and child abuse Mr. Hinckley stated:
"In the marriage companionship there is neither inferiority nor superiority. The
woman does not walk ahead of the man; neither does the man walk ahead of the
woman. They walk side by side as a son and daughter of God on an eternal
journey. She is not your servant, your chattel, nor anything of the kind.
How tragic and utterly disgusting a phenomenon is wife abuse. Any man
in this Church who abuses his wife, who demeans her, who insults her, who exercises unrighteous dominion over her is unworthy to hold the priesthood.
Though he may have been ordained, the heavens will withdraw, the Spirit of the Lord will be grieved, and it will be amen to the authority of the priesthood of that man. Any man who engages in this practice is unworthy to hold a temple recommend... My brethren, if there be any within the sound of my voice who are guilty of such behavior, I call upon you to repent."
The article would be much better balanced by referencing the Official Church stand against spouse, child, and sexual abuse. I suppose there are some draw backs to relying on a lay clergy, can they all become trained social workers? Probably not, but there is the hotline to call for information and Bishops and Stake President's hopefully understand that any form of abuse must not be tolerated!

1 comment:

appreciable said...

Dear Fleeting_Thoughts,

This is an excellent response to the article you mentioned. Those who hold the priesthood must stand up and defend women and children from any such treatment. I am thankful that the law of most nations mandates punishment for such behavior. I receive great comfort from the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ will be coming to the earth to rule and reign as our King. This is the only way such evil actions can be completely removed from this earth. Oh, come Lord Jesus come!

With Love,

-Appreciable Goodfaithpoet