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22-Aug-2017 21:45

I’m not sure how the LDS Church in California could be expected to know this man’s history and discipline him for it, since he changed his name and forged an entirely new identity after fleeing Louisiana.

I don’t think it’s really fair to accuse the Church of mishandling this.

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.

In practice, I don’t see Mormon parents accompanying their teens for their annual interviews; if this has begun to happen, that’s good news that I’d love to hear more about.

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.

But the question is: if the Church known the history in this particular case, what would it have done?

There have been enough examples of local LDS leaders—who are not, like other clergy members, professionally trained in how to deal with child and sexual abuse—sweeping matters under the rug that it’s entirely reasonable for us to wonder.

On the contrary, some of the documented cases of Mormon abusers show church leaders keeping quiet about the abuse and encouraging victims to handle it privately, if at all.

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That’s one of the most disturbing facets of the Frank Curtis case, for example.Mentions of “abuse” in LDS General Conference, 1850-2015.



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