There are fewer crimes that I can think of than those that harm or defile our children. A neighboring ward is now going through a crisis as a young boy (age 3) has accused an adult male member of sexually abusing him inside the church building. I don’t know the specifics so I will not dwell on this case.
In my ward this past Sunday, by instruction of the Stake Presidency, every adult member gathered together during the 3rd hour of the block to discuss the difficult subject of child abuse. After a few introductory remarks by the bishop, we watched a video called “Protect the Child” in which instructions are given regarding what signs to look for and what action should be taken if one suspects a child is being abused.
After a few more remarks by the bishop, he asked us what we thought we were doing well as a ward to protect our children. Few comments were made that were anything but typical, common-sense answers.
We then discussed what we as a ward could do to improve in this area. There were many suggestions made in this regard. They ranged from not letting young women ride along with Young Men’s leaders to having two primary teachers in each classroom to not letting kids leave Primary until their parents came and got them to Scout Leaders not sleeping in the same tent as the scouts (which I believe is Church-wide policy). There was a little bit of irony as while we were having this meeting, our kids were under the watchful eye of the Young Men and Young Women.
For some reason there seemed to be a great absence of the Spirit during this meeting as it felt something like a witch hunt. This all seemed like it was too much, as though we were surrendering our innocence. Not to get political, but it seemed like our mini version of the Patriot Act–what is too much, and when is enough enough?
I know this is a difficult subject to talk about. I want to say that I am the father of three small boys and if anything happened to them, I’m not sure what I’d do. But I’m not sure if what we’re doing is the right thing.