A Few Minor, and Hopefully Helpful Editing Suggestions on the LDS Church’s Recent Statement about Abuse

Church Offers Statement on Help Line and Abuse

The abuse of a child or any other individual is inexcusable. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stands with the victims and survivors of abuse and desires to use its resources to prevent abuse and to protect those who experience it. The Church must never be used as a screen to hide abusers from the consequences of their actions.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes this, teaches this, and dedicates tremendous resources and efforts to prevent, report and address abuse. Our hearts break for these children and all victims of abuse.

We have been saddened by the recent accusations about the way that the Church’s help line might have contributed to ongoing abuse in Arizona. The nature and the purpose of the Church’s help line was seriously mischaracterized in a recent Associated Press article. We established the help line is instrumental in ensuring to ensure that all legal requirements for reporting are met. It provides a place for local leaders, who serve voluntarily and are not professional therapists or pastoral counselors, to receive direction from experts to determine who should make a report and whether they (local leaders) should play a role in that reporting. When a leader calls the help line, the conversation is about how to stop the abuse, care for the victim and ensure compliance with reporting obligations. even in cases when the law provides clergy-penitent privilege or restricts what can be shared from private ecclesiastical conversations.

 We will immediately undertake a thorough review of the help line to determine what might have gone wrong in this situation, and we will make whatever changes we need to make to ensure that it always accomplishes its most fundamental task of protecting those who suffer from abuse. And because the hotline is just one of many safeguards put in place by the Church to prevent abuse, we will review all of our policies and procedures and seek advice from counselors, social workers, and victim’s advocates on how we can improve the ways that we protect children and other human beings from abuse. Any member serving in a role with children or youth is required to complete a training every few years about how to watch for, report and address abuse. Leaders and members are offered resources on how to prevent, address and report abuse of any kind. Church teachings and handbooks are clear and unequivocal about the evils of abuse. Members who violate those teachings are disciplined by the Church and may lose their privileges or membership. These are just a few examples.

The story presented in the AP article is difficult to read, and some Church members may be tempted to attack the news organization delivering the message or to try to invalidate or deemphasize the experiences of the children who have been abused. This is not the way to oversimplified and incomplete and is a serious misrepresentation of the Church and its efforts. We will continue to teach and follow Jesus Christ’s admonition to care for one another, especially in our efforts related to abuse. We should always be asking ourselves what more we can do to prevent people from suffering sexual and other types of abuse. We can never be satisfied that we have done enough.

Comments

  1. Yes. This. Whoever is running PR over there has highlighted exactly how misplaced the organization’s priorities are.

  2. I am a lawyer of 40 years. I know lawyer talk when I see it. That was good lawyer talk. Now we need to see some pastoral talk, and quickly.

  3. I feel like the church’s PR department should have a retainer on an outside PR consultant and get feedback on their planned responses, because that would’ve instantly shut down the dumpster fire of a response that we got today.

  4. Doug Reed says:

    Hardly “a few” and hardly “minor” suggestions here, Michael. And certainly “helpful” to those inclined to give greater regard to journalists than to Apostles…

  5. Doug Reed says:

    Hardly “a few” and hardly “minor” suggestions here, Michael. As for “helpful,” most likely to those inclined to give more weight to journalists than to Apostles…

  6. bennettmsu says:

    Thanks, Mike. This is both effective and productive. As always you said exactly what needed to be said.

  7. Angela C says:

    Yeah, the Church’s response was utterly terrible. Truly among the worst examples of how not to meet even the lowest bar of human decency. “Enough about the abuse of these victims whose lives were destroyed for nearly a decade while we made absolutely sure nobody reported it; let’s talk about the real victims here. Us. Of an unfair mischaracterization of how wonderful we really are and how our approach to everything is totally the best all the time and anyone who questions that is obviously a faithless servant of Satan who hates goodness.”

    Your version is much better. I honestly don’t even know how the Church’s statements get approved sometimes. Clearly nobody with a shred of decency, an ounce of empathy, or a lick of common sense is in the approval process.

  8. I’m surprised the Newsroom didn’t pitch a fit over the use of the word ‘Mormon’ in the AP article.

  9. I live in NE Illinois. My son and I went fishing in SE. On US 14, entering the town Walworth I spotted a sign in front of a church of unknown denomination that said:

    There is no excuse for child abuse.

    The irony.

  10. I give great regard to journalists. I appreciate the sensitivity shown in the suggested revisions.

  11. Edit.
    SE Wisconsin

  12. I read the church’s response and if anything, it just increases my anger and disgust. How is it possible that the Lord’s church can display this level of callousness and cluelessness? What is wrong with our leaders?!?

  13. A Non-E Mous says:

    Michael, Are there any details that could come to light that would change your edits? Or do you think there is no amount of defensiveness that is appropriate given what happened to the victim (regardless of whether the Church’s institutional measures contributed)?

  14. @Doug Reed, 1) Given Michael’s training and reputation, which you may not know, I guarantee he clearly understands the nature of his revisions. The phrase “tongue in cheek” most readily comes to mind. Additionally, however, he follows the same structural and essential elements of the original. What is added, however, changes the focus and the tone, favoring those traumatized by failures and not on the institution. My children often exhibit the problem of the original statement: when some conflict arises, their first inclination is often to deny involvement and justify their behavior. After some maturity is developed and/or time passes, they then often come around to realizing that someone else was hurt and that they may have contributed to the conflict in the first place. Some empathy and reckoning then may or may not take place. Which leads to 2). Nothing in the revisions suggest a preference for preference for journalists over Apostles and your insinuation of such is nothing more than a drive-by attack aimed at Michael’s commitment and testimony. A rhetorical low-blow usually employed when one doesn’t feel they have the tools or resources for direct, meaningful debate.

    Which all leads to @A Non-E Mous, who suggests, even by the question, that somehow Michael’s revision would or should change given some ‘clearer’ facts. If we read the revisions closely, we will notice words and like “might” and “accusations.” Michael knows what he’s doing, and there’s nothing in the post that, under any circumstance, would need to be changed. In its focus on caring for everyone and humble commitment to improvement if needed, his statement stands on its feet under any circumstance and accusation.

  15. A Non-E Mous says:

    @Brian:

    I wasn’t suggesting anything. I was honestly wondering whether Michael’s edits are fact dependent or not. It seems you think not. I’d be interested to know if Michael agrees.

  16. It blows my mind that anyone over the age of ten can take the church’s statement seriously. It has no more substance than “Nuh-uh, you’re wrong.” And somehow members eat it up and share it and happily move on with their lives.

  17. Doug Reed says:

    @Brian. Thanks, Brian. I don’t know Michael, or you, or anyone else here, so far as I know. It seemed and seems to me that “tongue in cheek” may not be the most honest or serious way to characterize a serious rebuttal to a serious statement about a serious and horrifying matter. However painful the matters described, the AP article struck me, unsurprisingly, at least in this case, as a “hatchet” job on the Church. Personally, I think it’s becoming for those of us who love the Church–or who want to–to try to give the Brethren–and their representatives–a “benefit of the doubt” when they respond to public matters that include attacks and any degree of “mischaracterization” or “misrepresentation,” especially in the press.

    It seems to me it’s easy and often can be glib to slam the Church and the Brethren in accordance with perspectives that might be more easily shared by those who don’t have a sense of the idea or reality or nature of “Apostolic” expression, heart, deed, and responsibility. I am no one to presume or cast aspersions on Michael Austin’s, or anyone else’s, “commitment and testimony.” It is painful for me to see honest and sincere and dedicated “servants of God” treated or regarded with disdain or facile denouncement in the community of people who–and I may be wrong in this–have interest in and connection to the impulses of the Restoration in a positive way.

    With kind regards,
    Doug (second attempt to post this…)

  18. Here’s an even shorter rewrite: “We only report cases of abuse to authorities when required by law to do so.”

  19. @Doug: you’re missing the point of Austin’s rewrite. What he’s implicitly criticizing is the defensiveness of the Church’s response, and the shallowness of its concern for the victims of abuse. It’s a textbook example of a terrible institutional non-apology. And that’s 100% on the shoulders of the people who wrote the response and approved it for distribution in the name of the whole Church. Even if the AP article were entirely fabricated, and even if the Church’s policies were completely faultless and successful at preventing all kinds of abuse, the right thing to say is something like “abuse should never happen, so we will review all of our policies, and improve them in any way that we can”. It isn’t defensive, doesn’t make excuses, doesn’t attack the reporters, but it also doesn’t admit fault or confirm that the report is accurate.

  20. @Doug: you’re missing the point of Austin’s rewrite. What he’s implicitly criticizing is the defensiveness of the Church’s response, and the shallowness of its concern for the victims of abuse. It’s a textbook example of a terrible institutional non-apology. And that’s 100% on the shoulders of the people who wrote the response and approved it for distribution in the name of the whole Church. It’s not an action that could be explained by “we just don’t understand what’s going on in the background”. All of the evidence of its impropriety is right there in the statement itself.

  21. This is the umpteenth time the Church PR Dept. has issued a problematic statement that has had the opposite impact of its intended result. Whoever writes these is so indoctrinated and steeped in the Mormon culture that they fail to understand how these statements will be viewed by the world at large. The PR Dept. should have a body of objective, non-church broke editors who could have explained why this statement is so lacking in empathy, and how it fails to address or assuage the very serious victim issues raised in the AP article. You have established that you should be the first member of such an editorial board.

  22. Excellent revision, for illustrating what should be said and what church PR failed to do. However, I can’t let go of a feeling that the same thing could have and should have been written 25 years ago with respect to matters I knew about in the 1990s, and that if it had been written 25 years ago we might be doing differently already. “We will make whatever changes are needed” is so so important, and so frequently left out of faux apologies.

  23. Excellent edit. I was shocked the Church communications officer and their PR firm ((Edelman) released that statement. It lacked compassion and a firm resolve to correct the many obvious problems with the hot line and the church’s law firm.

  24. Right. This honestly isn’t hard if you have a good PR team and a desire to actually be honest and do the right thing and not victim-blame.

    And IMO this statement doesn’t put them in a bad legal position. Some people are just convinced that any kind of apology will hurt them in a legal suit and that just isn’t true and is so counterproductive.

  25. @dlr curious if you’re referring to the first or revised statement as “good lawyer talk.” Because I don’t even think the Church’s original statement is “good lawyer talk.” If I were the Church’s lawyer, and I am a good lawyer and I have advised many clients in sensitive situations, I would have had them write something much closer to what this post suggests. I actually think the Church’s response is bad for their legal case and bad for public opinion. Corporations have actually gotten pretty good at learning how to apologize without necessarily jeopardizing a legal position and the Church is far behind the curve there.

    @Doug, have you asked yourself (sincerely) why you default to defending some privileged, wealthy men who head a $200B+ institution and sit on fancy red chairs in front of worldwide audiences of admirers over two girls who were horrifically abused for years (starting at age 5 and 6 weeks)? Why you are more upset and offended by seeming criticism of those men than you are by abuse? Because that is precisely, precisely the problem here. You’re part of it.

  26. Thank you!!! The official news release is at best not great. This version would be healing. However, this version is based on the premise that the church as an organization has victims as their first priority and that the helpline exists to protect those who suffer from abuse. Sadly that is not the reason the helpline exists. The church’s actions show that CYA (cover your behind) is the first priority, not helping abuse victims.

  27. Trevor, the Church’s PR representative is exactly where that response came from, unfortunately. Hand in hand with the legal people.

  28. The PR response shows exactly what the church leadership feels is needed to protect and emphasize. If victims were at the forefront of their thoughts, their response would have read more like the edited suggestions. Since protecting and defending the good name and image of the organization is at the forefront, the PR response shames the AP and tries to defend its actions.

    As for regular training, well, I worked with children/youth programs for nearly 30 years between the mid 1980s and the mid 2010s, and I watched one abuse recognition training video that was shown to all of the adults in the ward the year it came out. No follow-up, no “here’s what to do if you see/hear something.” There were several people in that ward at the time who had been abusive to family members and there was one who was arrested/jailed and then spent the rest of his life as a registered sex offender.

    But, yeah, there was an abuse hotline for the bishop and a 30-minute video for anyone who happened to be at church that one Sunday. Oh, and they drilled peepholes into the classroom doors so that anyone walking past could look in through the peephole to see what was happening in the room.

  29. Doug Reed says:

    @Elisa. Oh my. You don’t know me, nor I you, but you suppose you know something of my inner life. I am not “defaulting” to anything or anyone. I’ve read the relevant materials, and evaluated them for myself. I think far more of the leaders of the Church than your characterization of them here. While I may defend their statement in this case, my defense of them is certainly not “over” my feelings about the horrific abuse received by the two defenseless girls. I defend anyone who seems to me to deserve defense, notwithstanding any others who also deserve defense.

    Sincerely,
    Doug

  30. dougiereedgmailcom says:

    (My apology if this posts twice, as my first comment did. I’m having trouble posting, with WP or FB, and I’m new to this site…)

    @sth. Thanks. If I’m following you correctly (I’m not sure I follow what you wrote in your second post beginning with “It’s not an action…”), it seems to me that the Church or any of us has the right to defend ourselves when we are unjustly attacked or “mischaracterized” or “misrepresented.” I fail to see “the shallowness” of the concern of Church leaders in the words, “The abuse of a child or any other individual is inexcusable. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes this, teaches this, and dedicates tremendous resources and efforts to prevent, report and address abuse. Our hearts break for these children and all victims of abuse,” even and notwithstanding the horrible facts of this particular instance. To me, those words do not sound shallow.

    It seems to me that Church leaders have the role and the right to communicate their position for the entire Church and to the entire world; not I, not you, and not Michael Austin, however we might reflect upon, discuss, or even question things.

    Kind regards,
    Doug

  31. Doug Reed says:

    (That last post was from Doug Reed–me–and that email address is not correct… Sorry for this technical bumpiness!)

  32. @doug, you’re right, I don’t know of your inner life. Only what you wrote. You chose to focus on the problem of fault-finding Church authorities over the problem of abuse. So I was responding to your comments.

    I do apologize if I was making assumptions about you personally, but many of us are quite raw from so many people jumping to the Church’s defense. A lot of people say they care about the victims (like the Church) but if their actions and other words actually continue to harm victims, it’s hard not to perceive the sentiment as insincere. No one wants to say “the institutional church and its leaders are more important than a handful of victims” but that’s essentially what they are *saying* in word and deed.

    The Church can defend itself. Six-week old babies cannot.

  33. “It seems to me that Church leaders have the role and the right to communicate their position for the entire Church and to the entire world; not I, not you, and not Michael Austin, however we might reflect upon, discuss, or even question things.”

    Doug, I hope you are not saying we do not have the right to question church leaders, or the PR department (who probably had to run this past some one up the corporate ladder for approval.)

    We can and we should question horrible decisions and statements.

    Did the AP get some detail of church reporting system wrong? Perhaps. But that does not negate the fact that these girls were abused, the church failed to protect the girls, the reporting system is strictly to protect the church legally, and the PR statement is really void of any real sympathy and empathy. It’s deflection. It’s minimizing.

    So you know a little of where I am coming from, my wife of 50+ years was sexually abused by her father from infancy, very much like what happened to these girls. He held himself out as an example of an honorable priesthood holder, and everyone thought of him as one of the “pillars of the ward.” Fooled everyone but himself. Nothing has influenced our marriage than her abuse.

    These girls will remember the abuse, maybe not now, but one day in the future, and when they do, their world will be destroyed in ways only abuse survivors, therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists understand. May they someday find support and peace.

    I showed my wife this post. Her response was essentially the next time she hears someone say “Follow the [prophet, leaders, etc.]” , she will say “Forget that. Get the information right from the Heavenly Source.”

    Echoing what Dave’s comment above, we will only do the minimum required. We won’t go the extra mile, not even an extra foot, to truly do what is right.

  34. Doug Reed says:

    @ Elisa. Thanks, Elisa. Michael Austin’s post, which fault-found the Church’s statement, has been the topic here, and the one to which I commented. It’s hard to imagine, including Church leaders, anyone’s being anything other than horrified by the abuse recounted in the AP story.

    As for “so many people jumping to the Church’s defense,” I haven’t seen much if any of that here…

    I certainly haven’t been saying that the Church and its leaders are “more important,” than anyone, including those two precious girls. When anyone, or any institution, is “mischaracterized” or “misrepresented,” I think it deserves defense, including when it defends itself…and its “side” deserves to be heard–and given a “benefit of the doubt” until that happens–which of course, as you as a lawyer knows, is difficult when there are lawsuits pending…

    Additionally, the Church, as a church and a particular and “peculiar” one in its character and constitution even though “incorporated,” is different from other corporations. Those of us who know it, and know that–or at least who respect it–can rightfully pause, it seems to me, before “jumping in” to slam it, for one thing or another…however challenging or fraught, or, in this case, horrendous…

    My best,
    Doug

  35. @Doug “I haven’t seen much if any of [jumping to the Church’s defense]” . . . now let me defend it yet again in this comment section while claiming that I’m not and while I ignore valid points directed specifically to me about my own misreading of both the original statement and the revised statement, followed by platitudes about myself and others, seemingly oblivious to the fact that I am following the same problematic formula of the original statement.

    That right there, my friends, is example ‘A’ of the privileged, ignorant (wether willful or no) patriarchy at play in real time.

  36. Doug Reed says:

    @Brian. Okay, Brian. Fine. We’re not going to get anywhere, it seems. I would have hoped for a bit more of civility here rather than this name-calling judgmental rant… Peace…

  37. Kilroy Starr says:

    The rewrites are actually not that helpful. For example, “undertake a thorough review of the help line to determine what might have gone wrong in this situation.” There is no need to “undertake a review” because those in charge of the helpline are already fully aware of what happened and have already determined what went wrong. What went wrong was that the victim and the victim’s mother both signed a letter they gave to the bishop specifically asking him *not* to report the abuse. The bishop was put in a rather awkward position that was essentially a no win scenario all the way round. It’s easy for us to judge because we don’t have all the information and from the outside and in hindsight it seems obvious what should have happened. There is a very good reason why the Mojave County Sheriff’s office chose to charge the mother and even though they investigated the bishop for potential crimes they never changed him with anything.

    Second, “we will review all of our policies and procedures and seek advice from counselors, social workers, and victim’s advocates.” The help line is already set up with advice from counselors, social workers, and victim’s advocates.

    The suggested edits would essentially provide a PR smoke screen that would basically have the church lying and promising to do things that it wouldn’t do because it had already been done or they would have no need to do. Even if the statement had pointed this out I suspect that many people would still find fault with the statement.

    I think those at the church’s PR office are much more aware of what is actually happening and what the problems actually are.

  38. Doug Reed says:

    @Kilroy Starr. Well stated, Kilroy…

  39. @kilroy hold up, the “victim” signed a letter? Where is this info? So if a 7 yr old asks that her abused not he reported we should go ahead and call it good? They aren’t even at the age of consent, so not sure we should empower them to consent to further abuse.

  40. Jeremy Spilsbury says:

    @Kilroy Starr. “What went wrong was that the victim and the victim’s mother both signed a letter they gave to the bishop specifically asking him *not* to report the abuse. The bishop was put in a rather awkward position that was essentially a no win scenario all the way round.”

    I’m sure there are many details we are unaware of but that makes no sense. There is no way that this request signed by the victims who lived with the abuser is legally binding, Any contract entered into under duress in null and void. There is no question that this was the case here, not to mention that one of the victims was a minor.

  41. Kilroy Starr says:

    Pertinent documents:

    https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4489327-Exhibits-to-Osmond-Bar-Complaint-SLTRIB#document/p1

    Jeremy why would you assume that the letter would attempt to create a legally binding contract? That is a very weird take on this.

  42. Chadwick says:

    @Doug Reed

    If the church wants to claim that it was misrepresented and mischaracterized, then they need to set the record straight. And thus far they have not done so. How exactly were they misrepresented and mischaracterized? What did the AP article get wrong? So I’ll give the brethren a break when they give me a reason to do so. Until then, I’m choosing to believe the victim.

  43. Jeremy Spilsbury says:

    @Kilroy. Maybe I misunderstood you, but I read your comment as reason to why it wasn’t reported. I don’t understand why that letter would preclude that from happening.

  44. Kilroy, it feels like you are misreading. The documents stated that the Kirton McConkie lawyer provided the letter that the mother and daughter signed asking the bishop not to report. Which is very odd, if you ask me. Also Bisbee is not in Mojave county, so I’m not sure why a bishop up there was involved. Maybe they moved up there for a bit?

  45. Actually, looking into it, those documents are from an entirely different case. Kilroy, be better at research!
    https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2019/07/05/utah-arizona-dismiss-bar/

    It is not exciting to me that we have a second case where a bishop was seemingly counseled by Osmond to not contact authorities.

  46. Here’s something that has been bothering me since I read the original AP article: The church’s choices are all deliberate.

    The church *encourages* members to bring their challenges and difficulties to bishops. The church *knows* that bishops are regularly faced with members of the church bringing abuse situations to them. These situations are sometimes horrific. Beyond horrific. The church knows all of this with 100% certainty.

    The church does nothing to train Bishops to be ready for these situations. This is a deliberate choice.

    The church destroys any record of conversations with Bishops on the HelpLine (per the A.P. article) so therefore the church keeps no records about members/children being abused even when the church is being told the abuse is happening. The church chooses not to follow up on abuse situations, even when the abuse is the rape of a child. This is a deliberate choice.

    I feel sick.

  47. John C. I’m pretty sure it’s an attorney discipline matter stemming from the same case in the AP story. What details lead you to believe it’s a different case?

  48. The short answer is read the SLTrib article, but in case you can’t, it’s a different case, with a different bishop and set of victims, in a completely different part of the state (NW vs. SE). But yes, it is another case of Jefferey Osmond apparently telling bishops (and victims) to not involve the church in its resolution.

  49. Got it, John C. The allegations and process seemed so similar, I took them as the same case.

  50. Ethan Yorgason says:

    Thank you for providing that set of documents, Kilroy, even though, as John C. correctly assesses, those documents apply to a different case than the one here. It appears to me from combining the two cases, that a key issue is why the Kirton McConkie lawyers were seeming to claim that unless bishops were formally released from confessional confidentiality that they had a DUTY TO NOT REPORT to authorities; this despite what seems to be the plain reading of the statute that bishops have discretion to report to state authorities (and despite KM lawyers’ recognition of this discretion — p. 17 of the slides). The lawyers in these two Arizona cases, at least, seemed to be arguing that the default for LDS bishops, subject to consideration, should be to not report, rather than to report, despite the statute seeming to read in the opposite direction.

    Why were they giving this advice? Did it come from their desire to protect the church? Did it come from church leaders’ instructing them that the church policy was that confession to clergy must be considered confidential even from law enforcement unless otherwise compelled (not just permitted)? Or what?

  51. Ethan Yorgason says:

    By the way, I recommend listening to this podcast at Leading Saints with Jennifer Roach — at least for those of you who feel like you can stomach its strong apologetic impulses (though thankfully not on Maledon’s statement about the plaintiffs “money grab”) and perhaps questionable legal interpretations:

    https://leadingsaints.org/reporting-abuse-church-helpline-the-bishop-an-interview-with-jennifer-roach/

    One thing the podcast reminded me is that the Arizona case is not newly public information. Those details (and Roach said they are far more horrific than even the AP article conveyed) have apparently been public information for many years. The new part that the AP brings to the story it told this week, in addition to updating the situation on the victims, is mainly the information learned about how the church’s helpline/hotline generally operates. It learned this primarily from leaked sealed documents in the West Virginia/Jensen case, not from the Arizona case (though it clearly intended to apply the West Virgina lessons about the hotline to the Arizona case).

    The podcast also reminded me that this Arizona case may differ from many cases that are often discussed in that it doesn’t seem to be a case of protecting an abusive priesthood holder as such. The failure to act in Arizona was apparently not an attempt to cover up/deny what a well-respected member of the congregation was doing. That doesn’t make things better or worse, just different from many other horrible cases we hear about.

  52. Ethan Yorgason says:

    Just so my last statement is not misunderstood: all I meant to say is that Roach indicates that there’s some likelihood Adams wasn’t very active in either the church or his priesthood, even if he did confess his abusive behavior to his bishop on at least one occasion. I don’t mean to deny the impulse that exists in Mormonism to protect the patriarchal order as the husband/father being the head of the household (even if it’s not clear in this case exactly how this impulse did or didn’t come into play).

  53. The Utah Establishment is corrupt. The institution behaves like a Harlot, and the congregation behaves like a Bride. The institution’s Public Relations, Legal Counsel, and Church Educational System are the primary fields where Tares have swallowed up and suffocated the Wheat. The devil is in the bureaucracy, so to speak. These fields need to be burned and started anew.

  54. I think the problem is Oaks was trained as a lawyer in the 1950’s. I assume back then lawyers were warned about apologizing for anything. Hence the “TCoJCoLdS neither seeks for nor issues apologies” malarkey. If Michael’s revised statement came across his desk, I imagine he would have rewritten it removing any empathy or compassion (then sacked the PR/legal firms that wrote anything remotely human).

  55. I just found this literal translation of the church’s statement from the original Reformed Egyptian:
    “A Hotline! A Hotlilne! We have got a Hotline, and we need no more Hotline, and there cannot be anymore Hotline. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

  56. melodynew says:

    “We use words. Many words. Good words. And we accept no responsibility for the safety and welfare of children within our congregations. We’re busy doing business-y things. And using words. Leave us alone.”

  57. Peggy lambert says:

    Thank you for demonstrating clearly to the church how to write an appropriate response rather than the face-saving gibberish they used. I’m hoping someone in the COB will read your words and see the light.

  58. The author ASSUMES too much in their “hopefully helpful” edits. How about just assume that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is actually indeed run by Jesus Christ Himself, which it is, and that His Apostles would be told to do the best things possible. It takes faith to believe that. Using lawyers in today’s litigious world, OVERLY litigious world, is in my view EXACTLY what Jesus Christ would instruct His very intelligent Apostles to do, to fight the small battles that could sink the ship that provides TRUE SALVATION to millions, and opportunities for the same to even more. I defend the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as a default. I don’t judge it as a default.

  59. Understanding how difficult it IS to be a bishop in today’s world, today’s overly litigious world, and also knowing that bishops are not professional counselors, nor are they abuse specialists, nor is it their responsibility to know all the facts of abuse that take place at someone’s home, they only “know” what is told to them by the members themselves. A bishop is NOT the FBI. A bishop is there to help people repent. They are NOT law enforcement and do not do investigations. Anyone who can’t take the side of the poor bishop who is probably doing his level best in a calling that he had no training for, and for people to assume so much accountability on this man for a situation that is not entirely known, I mean, c’mon man! Give the bishop a break. He did NOT commit the abuse, that “FATHER” did, so give it a rest judgers. Give it a rest. you’re not even fair in the most basic way.

  60. GrantPa, I know it’s not your point but, ftr, today’s world is far less litigious than we were a century ago.

    But to your point: I don’t think anybody thinks Jesus Christ Himself wrote the church’s press release; I have to assume that He is capable of writing a better, more empathetic, and more legally-sound release than what the church issued, which, to be clear, was written by human persons.

    Given that human persons are fallible, and that the press release was particularly tone deaf and poorly done, it makes sense to offer some suggestions about how they could have done a better job, a thing Michael in fact did.

    But thanks for dropping by!

  61. GrantPa, I agree we should “give the bishop a break.” That said, your comment raises an area where the church failed this family; as you said, the bishop had a tough calling with no formal training. This is not a failing of the bishops’s; this is a failing of the institution.

    I’ll give the bishop a break, but I think it’s overdue for the church to start providing new bishops professional training. And I don’t mean an hour-long web based training; I mean many multi-day in-person training sessions spread out over time. Oh, and bishops should be paid for their service again

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: