Out of alignment...
As I mentioned, we have had a situation in our local ward here in the middle of nowhere. Our primary president has attempted to call a certain member to substitute in primary who has been convicted of sexually abusing a child. We actually have several persons in our ward who find themselves in this situation. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has very rigid guidelines concerning where persons convicted of child abuse may and may not serve.
"Even if a person who abused a child sexually or physically receives Church Discipline and is later restored to full fellowship or readmitted by baptism, leaders should not call the person to any position working with children or youth..." (Church Handbook of Instructions, 1998).
The Church even places an annotation on an individual's record, that follows him/her from ward to ward, indicating that they have had problems in the past. Members with this annotation are restricted by the above policy as long as the annotation is on their record, regardless of their progress on the path to repentance. I see this as a two-sided policy; on one hand, the person with this sin in their past should not be placed in temptation's way, and on the other hand, we must protect the children of the ward from future abuse. This only makes sense, and in my opinion those are the reasons behind the policy. That being said, the policy is very clear, but some are looking for loopholes to the rules and are seeking to allow this brother to bypass his responsibility and break the rules. The following excuses have been given:
- "You obviously don't understand repentance/the atonement of Christ the way I do."
- "We can't ostracize him."
- "If he has gone through the process of repentance, why should we deny him the blessings of the Gospel?"
- "Let him that is without sin cast the first stone."
- "Judge not,lest ye be judged."
I will spent the next few posts answering these statements one by one, and I hope when I am through we can all agree that they are completely irrelevant to the conversation at hand, and this brother's (and anyone else's) situation. Jared