Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints responds to AP story on abuse victim help line

Salt Lake Temple. Photo:

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Aug. 5, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — The LDS Church has responded to a scathing Associated Press story that claims the church’s help line for abuse victims accomplishes just the opposite.

“The story presented in the AP article is oversimplified and incomplete and is a serious misrepresentation of the church and its efforts,” reads the response Friday on the church’s website “We will continue to teach and follow Jesus Christ’s admonition to care for one another, especially in our efforts related to abuse.”

The statement said the workings of the church’s help line “was seriously mischaracterized” in the Associated Press article published Thursday. “The help line is instrumental in ensuring that all legal requirements for reporting are met. It provides a place for local leaders, who serve voluntarily, 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.”

The AP story citing thousands of court documents said the help line operation served too often to divert complaints away from law enforcement. It highlighted one particular case showing years years of alleged cover-up after a father confessed to his bishop he was raping his own daughter.

Link to the AP story:

“The abuse of a child or any other individual is inexcusable,” the church said. “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.”

The help line is just one of many safeguards put in place by the church, according to the the press release. 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.”

The AP story points out that clergy, and others involved in caring for children who believe a child has been abused or neglected are obligated by law to report their concerns to legal authorities.

But the story also notes that such laws often also state that clergy who receive information about child neglect or sexual abuse during spiritual confessions “may withhold” that information from authorities if the clergy determine it is “reasonable and necessary” under church doctrine — a reference to common practice among many denominations to protect the confidentially of the confessional setting.


  1. I get out of the church, for this reason. The Bishop would ALWAYS protect the MAN and throw the woman under the I can’t tell you. ALWAYS follow your man, no matter what. This church is racist to black men for YEARS, and always women and not people that GENETIC (fing science you idiots) they are sincerely WHO they are. To this day they are racist against them. WRONG, they are racist.


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