As the California legislature considers Senate Bill 131 which would provide an opportunity for those sexual abuse survivors to seek justice in the courtroom, it’s appropriate to consider the Church of Latter Day Saints and their role in the sexual abuse of minors.
Any time an institution of faith such as the Mormons is involved somehow in sexual abuse, the matter becomes complicated and multi-layered. In many instances, sexual abuse that involved the Mormons also involved the Boy Scouts of America since many Mormon churches sponsor Boy Scout troops not only in California but around the country.
However, it’s not the Church of Latter Day Saints’ involvement with the Boy Scouts that makes sexual abuse in the Mormon context, complex. Rather, it is the aspect of faith and belief in God that complicates and in certain cases, hinders the healing process for an abuse survivor. This situation is only exacerbated when the church itself denies any wrongdoing or challenges the credibility or the suffering of the abuse survivor.
That’s why it would be a major step forward for the healing of abuse survivors if the California Church of Latter Day Saints as well as the Catholic dioceses and archdioceses in California come out in support of Senate Bill 131. This is perhaps a pipe dream but if institutions of faith were also institutions of trust, the healing process would perhaps become smoother.