Mormon leader calls abuse ‘abomination’ amid political scrutiny

SALT LAKE CITY, AP — Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, told members of the faith Saturday that abuse is “a grave sin” that should not be tolerated and would bring down the wrath of God on the guilty.

Although the leader of the faith of nearly 17 million members did not mention it directly, the remarks were the first about abuse by a senior church official since the Associated Press published an investigation into how the church handles reports of sexual abuse when they come to its attention. .

“Let me be perfectly clear: any kind of abuse of women, children or anyone is an abomination to the Lord,” Nelson told members of the faith gathered in Salt Lake City for his conference. half-yearly.

The AP investigation found that the hotline used by the church to report abuse can be misused by its leaders to divert accusations from law enforcement to church attorneys. The story, based on sealed records and court cases filed in Arizona and West Virginia, revealed a host of concerns, including how church officials cited exemptions to mandatory reporting laws, known under the name of clergy-penitent privilege, as a reason not to report abuse.

Since its release, the church has said the survey misrepresents its policies, while highlighting how its teachings condemn abuse in the strongest terms.

The church has historically used its conference to set the tone for its members, reflect on current events, and announce doctrinal changes. Nelson’s remarks on Saturday echoed statements the church has released since the publication of the AP investigation – condemning the abuses, while defending the church’s policies.

“For decades the Church has taken significant steps to protect – especially – children from abuse,” said Nelson, the 98-year-old church president, sitting on a stool behind a lectern in the conference center, imploring listeners to research church politics. themselves.

Nelson described the abuse as an influence from the “adversary,” employing a term the Church frequently uses to describe forces that oppose the gospel and its teachings.

Amid the church’s insistence that the report misrepresents its sex abuse hotline, Nelson also said the “adversary” has worked “to blur the line between what is true and what isn’t.” is not true”.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that Nelson is a prophet.

This weekend’s event, which takes place on Saturday and Sunday, is being streamed to members worldwide.

About Joyce Hill

Check Also

What are the treasures on the west side? The group asks the community to identify important places

On Wednesday, graduate students from the University of Utah’s urban and metropolitan planning department pose …