Mar 29, 2015

LDS Church's View On Emotional, Sexual & Physical Abuse: Quotes & Definitions

What Is Abuse

I think many of us hear abuse and we instantly think it only means being physically beaten and that unless we are being physically hit then it's not as serious. Sadly this is not so, Emotional Abuse is just as destructive as physical abuse (Learn more about emotional abuse HERE). MANY of us aren't aware of the LDS church's stance and definition of abuse, even some of our own bishops and ward leaders.

Ive compiled a list of quotes from regarding ALL types of abuse straight from handbooks, manuals, conferences, apostles, & prophets. The Church takes this matter very seriously. Please pass this info along, even quote them to your ward leaders if needed.

Knowledge is truth and light!

LDSChurch's view on Emotional, Physical, & Sexual Abuse :

* Abuse and Cruelty -

"The Church’s position is that abuse cannot be tolerated in any form. Those who abuse or are cruel to their spouses, children, other family members, or anyone else violate the laws of God and man. All members, especially parents and leaders, are encouraged to be alert and diligent and do all they can to protect children and others against abuse and neglect. Members who have abused others are subject to Church discipline.

If leaders or teachers become aware of instances of abuse, they should counsel with the bishop. Instructions for the bishop are provided in Handbook 1.

Abuse Definition

Abuse is the treatment of others or self in a way that causes injury or offense. It harms the mind and the spirit and often injures the body as well. It can cause confusion, doubt, mistrust, and fear. It is a violation of the laws of society and is in total opposition to the teachings of the Savior. The Lord condemns abusive behavior in any form—physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional. Abusive behavior may lead to Church discipline.

Help for Victims of Abuse

If you are a victim of abuse, seek help immediately. Talk with your priesthood leader, normally your bishop or branch president but at times a member of the stake or district presidency. He can help you know what to do.
Be assured that you are not to blame for the harmful behavior of others. You do not need to feel guilt. ....Know that you are innocent and that your Heavenly Father loves you."

* Church disciplinary councils -
"Bishops and branch Presidents and Stake Mission and District Presidents have a responsibility to help members overcome transgression through repentance. The most serious transgressions, such as serious violations of civil law, spouse abuse, child abuse, adultery, fornication, rape, and incest, often require formal church discipline. Formal church discipline may include restriction of church membership privileges or loss of church membership"

* Abuse Defined -

“Abuse is the physical, emotional, sexual, or spiritual mistreatment of others. It may not only harm the body, but it can deeply affect the mind and spirit, destroying faith and causing confusion, doubt, mistrust, guilt, and fear”
(Responding to Abuse: Helps for Ecclesiastical Leaders, 1).

* Elder James E. Faust -

“Any form of physical or mental abuse to any woman is not worthy of any priesthood holder. … This, of course, means verbal as well as physical abuse”
(in Conference Report, Apr. 1988, 44; orEnsign, May 1988, 37).

* President Ezra Taft Benson -

“A priesthood holder who would curse his wife, abuse her with words or actions, or do the same to one of his own children is guilty of grievous sin.
“What does it mean to love someone with all our hearts? It means with all our emotional feelings and our devotion. Surely when you love your wife with all your heart, you cannot demean her, criticize her, find fault with her, nor abuse her by words, sullen behavior, or actions”
(in Conference Report, Oct. 1983, 63; or Ensign, Nov. 1983, 43).

* President Howard W. Hunter -

“Any man who abuses or demeans his wife physically or spiritually is guilty of grievous sin and in need of sincere and serious repentance”
(Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 64; or Ensign,)

* Gordon B Hinckley -

"We condemn most strongly abusive behavior in any form. We denounce the physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional abuse of one’s spouse or children.
No man who abuses his wife or children is worthy to hold the priesthood of God. No man who abuses his wife or children is worthy to be a member in good standing in this Church. The abuse of one’s spouse and children is a most serious offense before God, and any who indulge in it may expect to be disciplined by the Church”
(in Conference Report, Oct. 1998, 92–93; or Ensign, Nov. 1998, 72)

(This is an AMAZING LDS church article on abuse interview with a few experts, one of which is Anne Horton, author of the lds book Confronting Abuse....and most amazing book on abuse I've ever read.)

* A Conversation on Spouse Abuse -

(Few excerpts)

“We condemn most strongly abusive behavior in any form. We denounce the physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional abuse of one’s spouse or children.…
No man who abuses his wife or children is worthy to hold the priesthood of God. No man who abuses his wife or children is worthy to be a member in good standing in this Church. The abuse of one’s spouse and children is a most serious offense before God, and any who indulge in it may expect to be disciplined by the Church” - Hinckley
The proclamation on the family also contains a forceful condemnation of abuse: “We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God” 

Defining Spouse Abuse -
Ensign: Some think spouse abuse includes only acts of a physical nature. Thus, how should the term be defined?

Anne Horton: Many experts define spouse abuse as the maltreatment of another in an attempt to control him or her. Spouse abuse may be physical, emotional, verbal, or sexual. This type of abuse behavior between parents sets the tone for the rest of the family. It has severe ramifications on children as well as spouses because it traumatizes the children and may lead them to imitate that behavior later on. 
John Nelson: Spouse abuse involves inappropriate acts of one spouse over the other. It may involve coercive acts in which an abuser forces a person to do something that he or she normally would not do, with no particular concern for the victim. Abuse may also include the use of threats, name calling, yelling, and intimidation.
I believe that there are people, women particularly, who are abuse victims but wouldn’t describe themselves as such. They can’t go out of their homes, they have to be back at nine o’clock, they can’t go to lunch on Tuesday because they didn’t get permission from their husbands, and so on. It may not necessarily involve being beaten up, but it is still abuse and is outside the bounds the Lord has set for marriage. 
Brent Bartholomew: Spouse abuse is behavior that is destructive to the body, mind, or spirit. In fact, long after any possible physical injuries heal, the emotional scars of abuse may still persist.

Ensign: What are some signs of spouse abuse that are not as obvious as bruises or other physical marks?

Anne Horton: There are usually many signs of abuse rather than a single isolated sign. One may be when an individual shows fear at times when this would not be expected. For instance, a person may be afraid to speak without the spouse’s permission. Abuse victims may be isolated a lot; they may not be allowed to take part in community activities, and the people they see and how their time is spent may be closely monitored by the spouse. Those are some indicators we worry about.  
John Nelson: One possible sign of spouse abuse is an abrupt change in behavior. For example, a person who is typically outgoing and happy suddenly becomes withdrawn. The combination of warning signs sometimes clarifies the picture.

How Church Leaders Can Help - 
Ensign: What kind of help can abuse victims receive from Church leaders?

Brent Bartholomew: I think most bishops realize their own limitations. They can give spiritual guidance and spiritual help, but additional assistance may be required. In some severe cases victims may need to be temporarily outside of the home, so they may need short-term housing and assistance in that respect. They may need counseling that is more intensive and more frequent than the bishop can provide. In severe cases... they may need legal help to get a protective order. A bishop can let them know where to go for the type of help they need. People who are being victimized by abuse should not wait until the problem becomes dangerous before seeking assistance. 
Anne Horton: The Church produces spiritually directed resources that bishops can share with people who may need them, for example, Preventing and Responding to Spouse Abuse (pamphlet, 1997). The bishop can put individuals in contact with therapists who have been identified as being responsible and trustworthy. If these individuals cannot afford to pay the entire cost of counseling, the bishop can help arrange for financial assistance.

The Seriousness of Abuse - 
Ensign: Leaving the home may seem like a drastic step for someone deeply committed to a marriage. What would make this action necessary?

Anne Horton: Safety issues...always come first in a crisis. After people are safe, other relationship issues can be addressed.
Brent Bartholomew: The marriage may still be workable, but sometimes there needs to be a separation so that the abuse can stop and the healing process can start. During this time, a couple may seek counseling to learn how to deal with problems effectively without resorting to abuse. But both parties must be committed to the change; otherwise, change is almost impossible.
In severe cases, counseling for both spouses may not be effective and may even increase the risk of further abuse. In such cases the most effective treatment may be court-ordered domestic violence counseling for the perpetrator. 
John Nelson: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in Washington, D.C., recommends specifically what they call an exit or a safety plan for people in.. danger. The safety plan is..... have in mind a place to go that is available day or night, rain or shine. You need to think about the details. You’ve got to have money, car keys, identification, prescription medication, clothing for the children, soap, a person who can receive you day or night or a key to get in, and a way to get there. A crisis shelter may be your best option because most have police protection. That’s a last resort, but that’s the kind of information that might make it possible to diffuse the situation, at least for the short term.

Ensign: How can marriage partners exercise the forgiveness the gospel requires and yet avoid falling into the repeating cycle of abuse?

Anne Horton: Just as repentance is a process, so is forgiveness. Unfortunately many people think that forgiving equals forgetting and, therefore, are afraid forgiveness  makes them vulnerable. But while the Lord commands us to forgive, He doesn’t tell us to forget any lessons we have learned or demand that we trust an abuser. We can forgive someone without putting ourselves in the position to be victimized again. Love can be achieved and so can forgiveness, but we still must protect ourselves. 
John Nelson: We need to make it very clear that victims do not need to ask for forgiveness for something they haven’t done. No one deserves to be a victim of abuse. 
Brent Bartholomew: Here is another clue: a potential marriage partner who suggests that standards of personal worthiness be set aside in the name of love should be shunned. Abuse is a selfish act. People who invite someone they profess to love to participate in spiritually destructive behavior are acting out of selfishness, not love.."

* Thomas, Robert K. -

"Abuse is behavior that deliberately threatens or injures another person. It may be physical, emotional, or sexual. Some forms of physical and emotional abuse include beatings, neglect, and threats of abandonment. While it also may take varied forms, sexual abuse of another adult usually involves the use of force or intimidation to coerce sexual activity. Sexual abuse of a child, on the other hand, includes any sexual behavior between the child and someone in a position of power, trust, or control.
Individuals who abuse their spouses or children violate the laws of both God and society. Church leaders have counseled that even more subtle forms of abuse are evil-among them, shouting at or otherwise demeaning family members and demanding offensive intimate relations from one's spouse (Gordon B. Hinckley, "Keeping the Temple Holy," Ensign 20 [May 1990]:52). Church members guilty of abusing others are directed to seek the counsel of their bishops and, where necessary, professional help. Church disciplinary procedures may need to be instituted to help abusers repent and to protect innocent persons."

* Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith -

"President Joseph F. Smith was a tender and gentle man who expressed sorrow at any kind of abuse. He understood that violence would beget violence, and his own life was an honest expression of compassion and patience, warmth and understanding.
On one occasion President Smith said: “I witnessed a little circumstance in our meeting this afternoon in the aisle; a little child was sitting by its mother on a seat. Somebody came along and took the little child off its seat, and occupied the seat himself, leaving the child to stand. I want to say to you, my brethren and sisters, that that act sent a pang to my heart. I would not, for anything … grieve the heart of a little child in the house of God, lest an impression should be left upon its mind that would make the house of worship a distasteful place, and it would prefer not to come within its walls, than to come and be offended.”
The husband should treat his wife with the utmost courtesy and respect. The husband should never insult her; he should never speak slightly of her, but should always hold her in the highest esteem in the home, in the presence of their children.
I can not understand how a man can be unkind to any woman, much less to the wife of his bosom, and the mother of his children, and I am told that there are those who are absolutely brutal, but they are unworthy the name of men.
When I think of our mothers, the mothers of our children, and realize that under the inspiration of the Gospel they live virtuous, pure, honorable lives, true to their husbands, true to their children, true to their convictions of the Gospel, oh, how my soul goes out in pure love for them; how noble and how God-given, how choice, how desirable and how indispensable they are to the accomplishment of God’s purposes and the fulfilment of his decrees! My brethren, can you mistreat your wives, the mothers of your children? Can you help treating them with love and kindness? Can you help trying to make their lives as comfortable and happy as possible, lightening their burdens to the utmost of your ability, making life pleasant for them and for their children in their homes? How can you help it? How can any one help feeling an intense interest in the mother of his children, and also in his children? If we possess the Spirit of God, we can not do otherwise. It is only when men depart from the right spirit, when they digress from their duty, that they will neglect or dishonor any soul that is committed to their care. They are bound to honor their wives and children.
You can’t force your boys, nor your girls into heaven. You may force them to hell, by using harsh means in the efforts to make them good, when you yourselves are not as good as you should be. The man that will be angry at his boy, and try to correct him while he is in anger, is in the greatest fault; he is more to be pitied and more to be condemned than the child who has done wrong. You can only correct your children by love, in kindness, by love unfeigned, by persuasion, and reason."

* Gordon B Hinckley -

"In the marriage companionship there is neither inferiority nor superiority. The woman does not walk ahead of the man; neither does the man walk ahead of the woman. They walk side by side as a son and daughter of God on an eternal journey.
She is not your servant, your chattel, nor anything of the kind.
How tragic and utterly disgusting a phenomenon is wife abuse. Any man in this Church who abuses his wife, who demeans her, who insults her, who exercises unrighteous dominion over her is unworthy to hold the priesthood. Though he may have been ordained, the heavens will withdraw, the Spirit of the Lord will be grieved, and it will be amen to the authority of the priesthood of that man.
Any man who engages in this practice is unworthy to hold a temple recommend.
I regret to say that I see too much of this ugly phenomenon. There are men who cuff their wives about, both verbally and physically. What a tragedy when a man demeans the mother of his children."

* Elder H. Burke Peterson -

"For one who holds the priesthood, the best test as to whether he is trying to control the lives of family members can be found by examining his relationship with the Lord. If a man feels a reduction or withdrawal of the Holy Ghost (manifested by contention, disunity, or rebellion), he may know that he is exercising unrighteous dominion” 

* Recognizing Child Abuse -

"Child abuse occurs when someone who is in a position of trust or control threatens or causes physical or emotional harm to a child. This harm may be in the form of:

Physical abuse or neglect

Emotional abuse

Sexual abuse
Physical abuse occurs when an individual, in most cases an adult, causes bodily harm to a child. Child abuse in the form of neglect includes failure to provide for the basic nutritional, clothing, housing, medical, and educational needs of a child. Neglect includes leaving a child for extended periods of time without adequate supervision.
Emotional abuse is treating a child in a way that attacks his or her emotional development and sense of worth. Examples include constant faultfinding, belittling, rejection, and withholding of love, support, and guidance.
Child sexual abuse is any lewd or sexual activity between a child of any age and an adult or a significantly older youth who is in a position of power, trust, or control. It includes the sexual exploitation of a child in pornographic materials."

* D&C 121 -

"36 That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.
37 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake tocover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdrawthemselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.
38 Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fightagainst God."

 Elder H. Burke Peterson
“The Man of Power is one who presides—
“By persuasion. He uses no demeaning words or behavior, does not manipulate others, appeals to the best in everyone, and respects the dignity and agency of all humankind—men, women, boys, and girls.
“By long-suffering. He waits when necessary and listens to the humblest or youngest person. He is tolerant of the ideas of others and avoids quick judgments and anger.
“By gentleness. He uses a smile more often than a frown. He is not gruff or loud or frightening; he does not discipline in anger.
“By meekness. He is not puffed up, does not dominate conversations, and is willing to conform his will to the will of God.
“By love unfeigned. He does not pretend. He is sincere, giving honest love without reservation even when others are unlovable.
“By kindness. He practices courtesy and thoughtfulness in little things as well as in the more obvious things.
“By pure knowledge. He avoids half-truths and seeks to be empathetic.
“Without hypocrisy. He practices the principles he teaches. He knows he is not always right and is willing to admit his mistakes and say ‘I’m sorry.’
“Without guile. He is not sly or crafty in his dealings with others, but is honest and authentic when describing his feelings. …

*** Sister Aileen H. Clyde ***

"If charity is not always quick to our understanding, it may occasionally be quick to our misunderstanding. It is not charity or kindness to endure any type of abuse or unrighteousness that may be inflicted on us by others. God’s commandment that as we love him we must respect ourselves suggests we must not accept disrespect from others. It is not charity to let another repeatedly deny our divine nature and agency. It is not charity to bow down in despair and helplessness. That kind of suffering should be ended, and that is very difficult to do alone. "