Of my own experience, I wish to say that it is not remotely as appalling as many of the personal stories bravely posted on the website. I have experienced abuse in the LDS church – the law was broken, I naively thought the Church would take meaningful action but that did not happen. I did not pursue legal action but should have. The person who subjected me to abuse was found worthy enough to go on a mission, and the apathetic Stake President who thought saying “forgive” was going to clean up that whole nasty mess, was made a Seventy. My experiences within the LDS church left me feeling completely humiliated. On occasion I was hysterical, angry and ashamed following interviews with the Bishop. Even though I had done nothing wrong I was made to feel like filth. The LDS church has an urgent, if unrecognised need, to address a purity system that tells young women that no-one will “condescend” to marry them because they are not virgins, even when they are victims of sexual abuse. When I requested that another person be allowed to be present at an interview, this was refused. I felt I needed a witness to the disparaging and demeaning things that the Bishop said to me. I felt ugly – very, very ugly. I find it hard to trust, even now. I went through a stage where the first thing I thought about upon waking was dying. I thought about writing to the First Presidency but they don’t want to be contacted. Referring issues to your own Bishop can be a problem, especially if the Bishop is the problem, but even if this is not the case – a Bishop has to care enough and be informed enough to refer the matter to a Stake President, who has to care enough and be informed enough to refer it to someone else, etc, etc, etc… This system does not work. From my own experience, it seems that all anyone wants is for you to just shut the hell up about what has happened and the pain it has caused you, and that silencing hurts too. And because of that tendency to silence and the ability to use ‘forgiveness’ like a weapon to further condemn and oppress victims of abuse, this website (Protect LDS Children) is so very important. This is an opportunity for the LDS church to humbly recognise the harm that some members of the Priesthood do – either by their own actions or through inaction (it is these men who “sully the reputation of the church”). This is an opportunity for the LDS church to develop appropriate policies and strategies for dealing with abuse whatever form it takes, taking into account international laws and regulations to achieve best practice. In a church reportedly worth billions, paying for criminal records checks would be a tiny drop in that billion dollar ocean – and surely is more important than a mall? When people are targeted because of a protected characteristic (such as race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability), they should feel confident that those in authority within the church are conversant with the law and trained to recognise the seriousness of the abuse (this is currently not the case and I know this from my own experience). Why is this issue important? Because telling people who are suffering the effects of abuse that they are “choosing to be offended” causes more harm, because panic attacks, depression and other manifestations of trauma are NOT a choice. President Gordon B. Hinckley once said, “I am not asking that all criticism be silent. Growth comes with correction. Strength comes with repentance. Wise is the man or woman who, committing mistakes pointed out by others, changes his or her course.” And here we are pointing to the leadership of the LDS church and we are asking them to be wise and change their course. The LDS church needs to ‘raise the bar’ when it comes to how the church combats abuse.