Submitted by Julia Blake
The Boston Stake Presidency and Stake Relief Society Presidency drafted a letter which was read last Sunday in RS and Priesthood meetings. The Stake President has stated that the “overarching purpose of all of this was to train our leaders on helping any abuse victims.” The first four paragraphs were agreed upon and signed by the members of the Stake Presidency and the Stake RS Presidency. The fifth paragraph was added by the Stake President. This was intended for members of the Boston stake and is shared with permission of both the Stake President and Stake RS President.
Dear Leaders of the Boston Stake,
With recent events and a focus on abuse of many kinds, we wanted to reiterate our stance and that of the church in protecting children and adults from any form of abuse.
Our policy is clear, the doctrine of the Church commits us to do all we can do to protect children, adults and to strengthen the bond between husband and wife. Abuse in any form is sinful, tragic, and in opposition to the teachings of the Savior. Church leaders should teach the principles in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” including the evils of abuse and the importance of sensitively ministering to the victims of abuse.
When information of abuse occurs, the first and immediate responsibility of Church leaders is to support and protect the victim and to take appropriate steps to protect persons vulnerable to future abuse. When Church members become aware of abuse, they should report it to the proper church authorities and as appropriate to legal authorities. Once secured, Church leaders should act in a way that is caring, compassionate, and sensitive toward all involved, with the goal of helping victims, perpetrators, and their families receive the healing love of Jesus Christ.
We love the members of the Boston Stake and stand ready to minister to anyone who feels the need to meet with us.
What I want to do for our Boston Stake members is to make it clear, that we do not want them to feel any lack of trust or confidentiality in dealing with their called, set apart and, in some cases ordained leaders.
If any sister in our stake has been abused or feels that she has not been listened to or heard in a case of abuse, our hearts, ears and doors are open to discuss with them when they feel they can. I want them to know that in any discussion of abuse, my disposition is to start by believing them and mourning with them. Our discussions would be in the strictest of confidence and if the sister so desires, another sister leader or friend is welcome to join us.
Boston Stake Presidency and Boston Stake Relief Society Presidency