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Top Female Mormon Leaders Say Child Abuse Is Major Priority

Mormon leaders sit with directors of the abuse center.
Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Mormon leaders delivered a check donation to represenativies of Utah's Children's Justice Center on Tuesday.

In a time of heightened attention to sexual abuse in the Mormon community, leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints delivered a $50,000 donation to the Children’s Justice Center, a state run organization that helps victims of child abuse.

Five top LDS Church leaders were present to deliver the donation at the Salt Lake office of the Children’s Justice Center, all of them women.

After presenting a check, the leaders made themselves available for comment.

Sister Jean B. Bingham is the Relief Society General President, the church’s organization for adult women. She said addressing child abuse is a top priority for her and that female leaders are uniquely equipped to discuss abuse.

“We’ve all had that experience as a woman, having to be careful about where we are and who we are with," Bingham said.

Earlier this year, the LDS Church updated its abuse guidelines in response to a number of accounts of local Mormon leaders failing to protect victims of abuse.

Bingham said that because many female leaders are also mothers, like herself, they can be uniquely attuned to what abused children may be going through.

"We may have a little bit better feeling of what a child needs for protection," Bingham said.

While Bingham emphasized the importance of female input, Mormons typically report abuse to their male leader, their bishop. Bishops are instructed to then seek guidance from church headquarters.

The LDS Church also made a $25,000 donation to A Breeze of Hope Foundation in Bolivia, a nonprofit organization that also serves child abuse victims.

Lee Hale began listening to KUER while he was teaching English at a Middle School in West Jordan (his one hour commute made for plenty of listening time). Inspired by what he heard he applied for the Kroc Fellowship at NPR headquarters in DC and to his surprise, he got it. Since then he has reported on topics ranging from TSA PreCheck to micro apartments in overcrowded cities to the various ways zoo animals stay cool in the summer heat. But, his primary focus has always been education and he returns to Utah to cover the same schools he was teaching in not long ago. Lee is a graduate of Brigham Young University and is also fascinated with the way religion intersects with the culture and communities of the Beehive State. He hopes to tell stories that accurately reflect the beliefs that Utahns hold dear.
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