Mentions of “abuse” in LDS General Conference, 1850-2015.
There’s a sharp spike beginning in the 1980s, only some of which can be attributed to language (i.e., a century earlier the same problem would have been referred to as “beating”).
Elder Keetch has represented the Church in several cases about child and sexual abuse. If Mormons are setting the “gold standard” for the rest of society in how to confront child abuse, then the rest of society is in trouble. My guess is that the alarming case of the San Diego abuser “Mr.
We might think that such experience would position him to speak frankly about the problems that the LDS Church, like many other religious organizations, has experienced with members and leaders abusing children. Wonder,” which has been in the news over the last week, has put the Church on the defensive.
Many other faiths are way ahead of us on this score: See here for the 2012 PC(USA) policy statement “We Won’t Let It Happen Here: Creating a Child Safe Church,” building on earlier General Assembly resolutions dating back to 1991. We could go on and on about the proactive ways that other faiths are getting out in front of this issue.The so-called “two-deep” policy the “Effectiveness” statement boasts of isn’t mentioned anywhere in the 2010 church handbook for bishops and stake presidents, and in fact that handbook states that “worthiness interviews should be private” (7.1.1).In the section for youth, there’s a mention that parents are encouraged “to stay close to their children and counsel them,” but it’s not clear whether that parental involvement is specifically supposed to occur during a teen’s worthiness interview with the bishop or is just general advice about parents being involved in their kids’ lives (7.1.7).Note one feature that all of these religions have urged to bolster child protection: background checks for every person who works closely with children and youth.So far, Mormon leaders have not followed this lead.