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Question

 

Dear Gramps,

I have been a member of the Mormon Church for going on thirty years now and have been YW President and on the Relief Society board and have never come across the question my grandson asked me the other day.

He attends Seminary in the mornings before school and this is his first real year attending. They were discussing something related to sexual crimes and one of the young sisters asked the Seminary instructor what happens to those who become rape “victims.” She was told that anyone who is raped is held accountable and guilty until they ask for forgiveness. My grandson’s and my own question to this is: where is it written or decreed that the victim has to assume the guilt and accountability for this? I know someone who was raped by her father and she has been excommunicated because she doesn’t understand why she has to repent for this crime that she didn’t ask for or provoke.

What is the ruling on this, and where do I find this information? These girls and my grandson are devastated and their faith is being shaken. I, myself, can’t believe that the loving Heavenly Father that I grew to love and trust would judge in this manner. Please help us. Thank you.

Barbara

 

Answer

 

Dear Barbara,

I have been a bishop and a stake president, and I have never heard of such a disposition. One of the severe problems of rape victims is that they feel that they are somehow guilty for having provoked the attack. It is a very difficult thing to get over and frequently requires professional counseling.

Concerning those who were censured because of their involvement in rape situations, it would be necessary to know the whole story. Church disciplinary councils are confidential, and there may be much more to any given situation than may be told by one of the participants.

I think it would be a good idea to contact your bishop and advise him of the kind of instruction that your grandson is receiving in seminary. He could also advise you of the Church’s position in the case of victims of abuse.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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