From the Church

Church statement: What did the Associated Press story get wrong in the Arizona abuse case?

Church outlines its feelings on abuse and how a recent Associated Press story got it wrong.

On August 17, 2022, the Church released an official statement addressing the Church’s stance on abuse and its mischaracterization in a recent Associated Press article. This is a portion of that statement:

For generations, leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have spoken in the strongest of terms about the evils of abuse and the need to care for those who are victims or survivors of abuse. From the thundering rebuke of former President Gordon B. Hinckley to the recent words of healing offered by Elder Patrick Kearon of the Presidency of the Seventy, our feelings are clear. We echo those sentiments and teachings today. Our hearts are broken as we learn of any abuse. It cannot be tolerated. It cannot be excused. The Savior Jesus Christ wants us all to do better and be better.

It is important to us that our members and friends understand how deeply we feel about this subject. It is also important that they have accurate information about how we approach this matter.

Church leaders and members are instructed in the Church’s General Handbook that their responsibilities related to abuse are as follows:

  1. Assure that child sexual abuse is stopped.
  2. Help victims receive care, including from professional counselors.
  3. Comply with whatever reporting is required by law.

Since the Church released its first statement about the Associated Press story, many have wondered about what was incorrect or mischaracterized in their reporting. The information and details below are provided to help media, members and others understand how the Church approaches the topic of child abuse, particularly as it relates to this specific case.

You can read a more detailed timeline, an outline of the facts, and specifics about the AP’s erroneous conclusions in the full statement on Church Newsroom.

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