LDS Church First Presidency issues letter, guidelines for handling abuse

The LDS Church sent a letter to its leaders on how to recognize and prevent abuse. (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) -- The LDS Church issued a letter from its First Presidency Monday, its highest church office, with guidelines for handling abuse.

Its media page, called MormonNewsroom, said its letter and guidelines published in 2008 are part of its continuing effort to help leaders prevent and respond to abuse.

It read:

To help ensure the safety and protection of children, youth, and adults, we ask that all priesthood and auxiliary leaders become familiar with existing Church policies and guidelines on preventing and responding to abuse. A revised statement of these policies and guidelines is enclosed.

The letter and revised guidelines are sent to the church's General Authorities, who have regional or world-wide responsibilities and to local leaders in the United States and Canada. The abuse resources were first issued in 2008. The official name of the worldwide organization is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Many know it as the Mormon Church.

Recently claims of abuse came to light about one of its leaders who trained missionaries in Provo, Utah, before they were sent out to teach and convert others to the LDS Church. The accusations of rape were denied but the leader, Joseph Bishop, did tell police asked a female missionary to show him her breasts. Others confirmed the existence of a room, much like the victim described.

The LDS Church previously released a statement in reaction to the initial story and then another statement after other evidence was brought forward.

The guidelines, included below, have sections on what abuse is, teaching doctrine about abuse, ways to prevent abuse at home and at church and a highlighted section about a confidential hotline available for bishops in the U.S. and Canada to call when they learn about abuse.

Leaders in other countries are advised to get help from other leaders who are in place in the church organization.

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