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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 statement was apparently first written in 2010 by Von G.Keetch, who was at that time chief outside legal counsel for the Church and is now a Seventy.But the reality is that issues only get addressed that often when they are, in fact, issues.Mormon leaders haven’t begun to speak frequently about child abuse because it’s a phantom issue affecting other people in allegedly inferior religions far away; they do so because the problem is already right here in our midst. I would like to see a different kind of statement from the Church, one that acknowledges the real pain of survivors of abuse. Some bloggers have written that the Church ‘re-released’ this article on February 1, 2016. Because of a technical error on the website, some past articles have been showing up with the current date.And I sure don’t see this in our Sunday curriculum.No, we don’t have a policy that prohibits an adult male from ever being alone with a minor.
That’s one of the most disturbing facets of the Frank Curtis case, for example.
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).
What’s especially weird about the “Effectiveness” statement is that it’s factually incorrect on several key points.
These are enumerated blow by blow in an excellent response on Feminist Mormon Housewives, but let me recap a few of the most glaring errors. It’s disappointing that an LDS statement would make sweeping and self-aggrandizing generalizations to the effect that “child abuse by clergy may be a problem in other religions, but it’s never a problem with us, no sir!